Anti-AIDS plan for cops launched

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 28:

Inspector General of Police, Shyam Bhakta Thapa, launched an anti-HIV/AIDS strategy and a work plan as well as curriculum for senior level police officials here today. Referring to a recent report carried in The Himalayan Times about soldiers of India’s Assam Rifles increasingly succumbing more to HIV/AIDS than insurgents, Deputy Inspector General of Police Kumar Koirala said it had become essential to fight HIV/AIDS and combat its growing threat in Nepal. Koirala, who is also coordinator of the HIV/AIDS advisory team, said the armed forces, police and other uniformed services around the world face a serious risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, mainly due to the nature and characteristics of their profession. “The overall objectives of the anti-HIV/AIDS strategy for Nepal Police is to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic within the police force, their partners and families, and to sensitise them to the rights of vulnerable groups and their access to HIV/AIDS services,” said Koirala.

He added that the programme would focus on the forces deployed to UN peacekeeping missions in countries where HIV prevalence is very high. Pointing to a recent research report that one-third of the clients of female sexworkers belong to the uniformed services, including the military and police, Charge de’ Affairs of the US Embassy, Elizabeth Millard, said this initiative by the Nepal Police would help create a better understanding of the disease.

“HIV/AIDS has become a scourge that threatens the prosperity and development of all nations. It has become an additional burden for Nepal in addition to the insurgency,” she said, adding that the US would keep on supporting Nepal to combat the disease. Surveys have not yet been conducted for Nepal Police personnel in particular. The report launched today states that data indicates 0.5 per cent of the population to be HIV positive.