It is reported that many personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders had been affected by HIV-AIDS.
Commenting on the reports, the top brass of the BSF declared that as compared to the national average, the percentage of AIDS is quite low in the forces.
Talking to reporters here on Monday, Raman Srivastava, Director General of BSF said that that precautionary and mass awareness programmes are being conducted for the benefit of the personnel.
"On a national average, 0.7 per cent is known to have AIDS. Only one sixth of 0.7 per cent, that is 0.12 percent belong to BSF. We are conducting awareness programmes and counselling. We have also launched a magazine 'Saavdhaan' (Beware) which has been distributed in 13 different regional languages of India. It contains all the advisories, all the details, all kinds of treatments and awareness programmes. That is a very rare thing, which has been done by BSF," he added.
Alarmed by the increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases among police and paramilitary personnel, the central government has decided to convene a national conference to chalk out strategies for combating the disease.
The conference will discuss initiatives taken by the Union Home Ministry for mainstreaming of paramilitary forces and state police personnel on prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Representatives of seven paramilitary forces - the BSF, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guards (NSG) and the Assam Rifles as well as all the state police forces will take part in the meeting.
Srivastava further mentioned that none of forces would ever declare the exact percentage, although it is very low.
"The percentage is much lower than the national average. The other forces would also be having. No forces are ready to declare how many percent of their people are affected," he added.
Reportedly, a BSF unit stationed in Punjab had been hit by HIV/AIDS attack and this was believed to have been passed on to the personnel by sex workers. Each of the seven units of BSF posted in the Ferozepur district along the Indo-Pak border has at least two cases of the deadly virus.