For the Punjab police, already battling drug addiction and alcoholism amidst its ranks, the next encounter is with the dreaded AIDS.
While last year 24 cops were found to be afflicted with HIV virus in Tarn Taran district alone, this year four more cops have been tested positive. This has lead senior officers to describe the situation as alarming. The cases were detected during the ongoing annual medical examination camp being organized by Punjab police in Tarn Taran.
Confirming the detection, Tarn Taran SSP PK Rai was reported that four cops were found positive, out of 1,600 personnel who were examined.
Rai calls the situation worrying, as last year out of 2,600 cops examined, 24 were found to be infected with the HIV virus. "It's a matter of great concern and we are trying to spread awareness among cops. Besides holding Tarn Taran district , we have decided to organize health camps on a regular basis", he says.
According to senior police officers, the cops who were found to be HIV+ were being taken care of by the department and the cost of treatment was being borne by the government. Officers opine that besides unsafe sex, one of the main reasons behind increasing HIV cases in the force, could be increasing drug abuse.
Meanwhile, the department is planning to launch a campaign to educate cops. According to Rajesh Kumar, head, School of Public Health, PGI, "In Punjab and in entire northern region HIV+ cases have not seen an alarming growth in the last decade. But rising cases among cops is a cause for worry and the situation demands immediate preventive steps."