Friday, September 19, 2008
More than 500 soldiers belonging to an elite paramilitary force in India are infected with HIV, the chief of the force has said
Seventy troops of the 173-year-old Assam Rifles have died of the infection in the past 10 years, according to Lieutenant General Karan Singh Yadava. Many of the Assam Rifles troops are posted in north-eastern India and are engaged in fighting local insurgencies. India has one of the highest numbers of people with HIV in the world. Lt Gen Yadava said the force is organising sex education lessons for troops. "We have asked our men to curb the menace (of HIV infections) with full strength," he said. The Assam Rifles are recruited and deployed in the north-east of India - where they help maintain security or quell insurgencies in states such Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. They are posted in areas close to the Burmese border which have some of the highest rates of HIV infection in India.