Assam Rifles vows to fight HIV/AIDS menace

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Shillong, Nov 30 (UNI) The Assam Rifles, India's oldest paramilitary vowed to counter the menace of HIV infections in the force, a senior Assam Rifles official said today.

The Assam Rifles personnel are engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the North Eastern states especially in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Tripura. They are also guarding the 1600 km long border with Myanmar.

With seventy personnel losing their lives to the infection in the past 10 years, the Assam Rifles have established 30 rapid diagnostic centres all over the region with an anti-retro viral therapy centre, six Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing Centres (VCCT).

''Hundred per cent screening of Assam Rifles troops and most of their families for HIV has been conducted and the process is continuing,'' Major Sanjay Dasgupta said adding regular pre and post HIV test counselling is religiously being followed, besides training of peer educators is being done at all sector headquarters.

''We are developing expertise in testing, screening and counselling of HIV patients,'' he informed.

Carrying condoms was made compulsory for the Assam Rifles as the region is vulnerable to the killer virus for more than one reason.

With the jawans hailing from all parts of the country and away from their families for long, the protection would save them from getting infected.


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