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Haryana police response to HIV

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NEW DELHI: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for victims of rape or sexual abuse,

anti-retroviral therapy (ART) care and sensitivity to HIV afffected individuals,

legal issues relating to rights and confidentiality, and the adherence to needle

safety protocols were just some of the issues taken up a day-long workshop

organized by the Haryana State Police at its Madhuban Armed Police Training

Centre near Karnal.

First mooted by R S Dalal, the head of Haryana's state police force, the

initiative is just one of the many taken to make the Haryana police more in

touch with contemporary forms of policing.

What made the programme even more unique is the fact that this was the first

time that such an initiative was being taken up by a state police force at an

institutional level on such a large scale.

Over 600 women recruit constables, who form a significant component of the

modern police force, participated in the awareness-cum-advocacy workshop which

covered aspects as diverse as clinical protocols and legal provisions and

remedial measures of child abuse and rape victims. The total number of trainees

who participated in the programme was approximately 2,500 and were spread over

all ranks.

The matter of utilizing police personnel as outreach peer educators to spread

the message of HIV-AIDS in rural areas where medical and counseling services

were inadequate also came up for discussion during the proceedings.

Also discussed was the possibility of having a special cell for cases pertaining

to women's rights vis-à-vis HIV-AIDS with special reference to rural parts of

northern India.


The workshop, which was conducted, among others by Dr Joe , an

internationally acknowledged figure from Australia, covered over 2,000

personnel, ranging in rank from recruit constables to senior inspectors,

currently undergoing training at the academy.

Describing the outcome of the initiative as 'significantly productive' and

'encouraging', Dr , said besides addressing a wide range of misconceptions

among the participants a number of advocacy issues were taken up.

Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, whose last appointment as director general of the

Assam Rifles had brought him up close and personal with the damaging

repercussions of the pandemic on security forces, has since been championing the

cause of tackling the Virus before it infiltrates the ranks of fresh recruits

who are considered an extremely vulnerable and 'high risk' group.

Besides achieving the obvious objective of decelerating the spread of HIV-AIDS,

the veteran said it was far less expensive to intervene via a social approach

and prevent through building awareness before an individual has been infected

rather than through a clinical approach once the Virus had infiltrated a

person's immune system. " Not only is prevention better than cure, " he said,

" it's also much cheaper! "

Later, speaking to this reporter, Academy Director V Rai, a senior Haryana Cadre

IPS officer said it was evident from the level of enthusiasm among the

participants that the 'experiment' had been a resounding success and the next

logical step would be to make it an integral component of training for all

personnel of the Haryana Police. The next workshop has already been set for some

time in September, he said.


Winnie Singh


106, Aradhana RK Puram Sector 13

New Delhi, India

url: http:// www.maitri.org.in

mobile: 98.101.32908/ tel/fax: +91.11.26111559

e-mail: <winnie.singh@...>

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