23 March 2002

Nigeria: We Will Have Mercy On HIV Soldiers - Danjuma

Lagos — Defence Minister, Lt.-Gen. Theophilous Danjuma, yesterday in Abuja said that military personnel, who test positive to HIV/AIDS would not be sacked from the service.

Speaking at a one-day seminar on HIV/AIDS organised by the U.S. Department of Defence and the Lincoln University also of U.S., Danjuma said that anti-retroviral drugs would be administered to such officers to help improve the quality of their lives.

He said that commanders at all levels had been directed to treat HIV/AIDS control among troops serving under them as a command responsibilities and would be held responsible for any lapses.

According to Danjuma,If we fail to do this, we may soon have no troops to command.

Danjuma also said that health care focus in the military had shifted from the fight against malaria to the fight against the AIDS scourge, which is ravaging the entire human race with the military as the high risk sector.

He explained that in the past anti-malaria drugs were administered freely to troops in the fight against malaria and that with the spread of AIDS, military authorities would now concentrate their efforts on AIDS prevention and treatment.

Danjuma said: "we will continue to look up to the international community, organised private sector, non-governmental organisations and concerned individuals for support in the fight against HIV/AIDS as enormous funds will be required in the campaign."

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