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Armed forces to do HIV tests on entry

Unlike AIDS patients, those suffering from HIV can continue in service.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 17:12 IST

Armed forces have introduced pre-induction HIV/AIDS screening tests for those joining the services, a top official of the Forces' medical services wing said.

"From now onwards the screening test would become mandatory for those entering the armed forces", Surgeon Vice Admiral VK Singh, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) said.

The Indian armed forces' HIV programme was considered the best in the world and the US was taking a cue from India, Singh, who is also the Senior Colonel Commandant of the Army Medical Corps (AMC), told a press meet after inaugurating the Orthopaedic centre of the Naval hospital INHS Sanjivini.

The armed forces have not reported any AIDS death since 2005 and at present 32 cases of HIV are being treated.

A medical officer is posted in every unit. Stress was given on removing the 'veil of secrecy' with regard to HIV.

Open discussions with families of affected personnel are encouraged and more awareness programmes have been introduced, he added.

While the HIV patients can continue in service and are entitled to all free medical benefits, AIDS patient would not be allowed to continue in service and would not be get medical pension, Singh said.

On reports about stress-related suicides among armed personnel, he said an in-house analysis had shown that most cases of suicides were reported from those who had joined duty after leave.

Soldiers have no 'battle stress'. The anxiety over the future of family members and property issues had made some them to take the extreme step, he claimed.

Anyhow, the three service chiefs have taken up the issue with the Home ministry, he said.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 16:32 IST