India’s Army To Begin Testing New Recruits for HIV, President Says
New recruits to India's military will be tested for HIV beginning next month, Indian President Abdul Kalam said on Friday at an army seminar, Reuters South Africa reports. In addition, pregnant female partners of military personnel will undergo prenatal screening for HIV, Kalam said. The move aims to prevent the spread of HIV among the armed forces after about 200 soldiers died of AIDS-related illnesses over the past two years. "HIV/AIDS has become a security threat to India," Lt. Gen. Bhupinder Singh said at the seminar, adding, "AIDS is no less destructive than war itself. We want to keep our forces fighting fit." More than 300 soldiers are HIV-positive, according to government records (Reuters South Africa, 9/24). The Indian army's Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force deployed in the separatist northeast region of the country, has reported that 40 of its soldiers have died of AIDS-related illnesses and 139 have contracted HIV during the past decade (Agence France-Presse, 9/24).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.