With AIDS a spiralling menace among its personnel returning from vacation, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to distribute condoms before they leave for home.//
"We have found that over 80 percent of the AIDS cases that have been reported were found in personnel who had returned from leave," said a CRPF official handling an anti-AIDS programme in the security force.
The official added that the trend was mostly sighted in Delhi, Tripura, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
"We do not think that they were infected when they were living in our high security camps," he said.
"We believe that when these personnel go on leave, some of them meet up with prostitutes on their way to their homes. This was probably the cause for the spread of AIDS in the force," added the official.
Since 1991, when the first case of AIDS was reported in the organisation, over 100 personnel have died of the virus while 300 more are undergoing treatment.
"Every year around 25 new AIDS cases are reported in the organisation," the official said, adding that in 2006 already around 23 cases were reported and the number could increase in the next two months.
"It was impossible that the virus could have spread because of blood transfusion or use of infected syringes by the personnel because the medical facilities available to our men is of the highest order," added another CRPF official.
He said that last year 25 people were found infected by the virus. After the recent findings came to light, the security force had issued orders to its 36 centres in the country to distribute contraceptives to personnel before they proceed on leave.
"We have decided to give two packets of contraceptives to each member. This would not only protect the personnel but also their family members," he added.
He said the medical branch has been directed to make t
hese contraceptives available from the market.
"We can also take the help of the local district authorities in procuring the contraceptives. We can collect them from the medical centres in the districts," he added.
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