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Armed Forces Enroll Wives in Fighting HIV/AIDS

Can an injury caused due to a syringe used on an AIDS patient infect the injured with HIV? No, it won't. Because HIV must enter your body in sufficient quantity for you to get infected . That's another reason why it is almost impossible to get infected with HIV from a barber's razor. Is it true most of the women infected with HIV are prostitutes? Myth again! Most women infected with HIV are housewives and a majority of them, over 70 percent in fact, get it through their husbands.

Revealing facts like the ones above are samples from a set of 40 Q&As included in a three booklet set and a CD released by Surgeon Vice-Admiral Yogendra Singh, Director General, Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in New Delhi today. The booklets and the CD were distributed to more than 100 participants at a workshop for Armed Forces Wives Welfare Associations.

The participants, wives of serving soldiers, drawn from the three services, will form Peer Group Leaders, who will disseminate awareness on HIV/AIDS among peer groups of about 20 wives of soldiers in the field units.

The rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the armed forces has alarmed authorities. Since the first detection of HIV in a soldier returning from a UN mission in 1992, the virus has affected 0.028 percent of the forces' strength, a statement laid before parliament last year said. 104 HIV-infected soldiers were discharged from service in 2004 alone.

The workshop and the focus on Peer Group among wives of soldiers is part of a thrust programme in the armed forces to combat HIV/AIDS, the enemy within the ranks.

Underlining the role women could play in checking HIV spread, Admiral Singh motivated soldiers' wives to create awareness and combat the menace. "The youthful, exuberant and aggressive attitude of our troops combined with the long separation from families and high mobility has compounded the risks faced by them," Admiral Singh said in his inaugural address t o the two-day workshop.


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