Mumbai, India, Police Dept. Mandates HIV Testing, Creates AIDS Awareness Program After 450 Officers Test HIV-Positive
The Mumbai, India, police department has decided to make it mandatory for all of its 38,000 constables, officers and inspectors to undergo HIV testing every six months after discovering that hundreds of the city's police officers are HIV-positive, the Times of India reports (Times of India, 1/8). About 450 male police officers have tested HIV-positive, according to Prem Kishan Jain, joint police commissioner for administration. However, the number is preliminary, and medical data have not yet been compiled for much of the police force. Jain said that the department is also attempting to determine how the police had been infected, adding that most of the men who tested HIV-positive were low-level constables who are not well-educated. It is well-known that some Mumbai police officers are customers of the city's sex workers, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 1/7). The police department plans to build a database of the HIV status of its employees and implement an AIDS awareness program at the 83 police stations and 12 crime branch units in the city. More than 800 police officers have been trained to participate in the program. In addition, the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society plans to conduct a sample survey to determine the HIV/AIDS incidence among police personnel and to set up a voluntary testing and counseling center at the Nagpada police hospital (Times of India, 1/9). India has at least 4.58 million HIV-positive people, and a study released last year warned that the problem could grow if the government did not act to prevent the spread of the disease (Agence France-Presse, 1/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.