Former trooper fights another battle - on AIDS frontFebruary 20th, 2008 - 10:02 am ICT by admin
By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, Feb 20 (IANS) Ranjeet Dubey has fought many battles with terrorists, but the Border Security Force (BSF) trooper is now waging another war - this time against HIV, and the discrimination that goes with it. Dubey joined the BSF in 1996 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1999 when he was posted at the Wagah checkpost on the India-Pakistan border.
A routine test while donating blood to a colleague found that he was HIV positive. Dubey’s world came crashing down.
“My friends started treating me differently when I was detected HIV positive. I was under pressure to quit my job. After quitting, I returned to my native Hazaribagh district (in Jharkhand),” Dubey said.
After returning to his village, Dubey did not tell his family about the disease. But the family - he has six brothers and two sisters - came to know about it and quarantined him.
“My utensils were separated. People started talking differently to me. I quit my village to launch a campaign against AIDS,” said Dubey, who in 2003 joined the Holy Cross Mission, which was spreading awareness about the disease.
Dubey, a bachelor, is now helping create awareness about AIDS among people by getting himself associated with Red Ribbon Express of the Jharkhand AIDS Control Society (JACS).
He has created a support group for AIDS-afflicted people. “Our support group moves around in villages to spread awareness. We meet the family members of the HIV/AIDS patients and tell them about the kind of support that an infected person requires. AIDS patients need sympathy and support to make their lives easy,” Dubey said.
Around 2,900 AIDS cases have been detected in Jharkhand. India currently has over 2.5 million HIV/AIDS patients, according to new estimates published jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNAIDS and the National AIDS Control Society (NACO).