updated 8/9/2008 5:35:37 PM ET 2008-08-09T21:35:37

An Indian couple poisoned their three young children, then hanged themselves from a ceiling fan because they were depressed about being HIV-positive, police said Saturday.

A relative found the bodies of Ishwar Thevar, 39, a film distributor, and his wife as well as their two sons and a daughter in an apartment in Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, earlier this week, said Rajkumar Vatkar, a senior police official.

Vatkar said the children, aged between 4 and 10, had been fed food laced with poison before the couple hanged themselves.

A brother of Thevar told police that the couple had tested positive for the AIDS virus two years ago and found out two months ago that their daughter also was infected, Vatkar said.

"Thevar had told his brother, father and other close relatives that he was depressed and didn't want to live," the police officer said. "The immediate cause was clearly depression."

Nearly 2.5 million people in India are infected with the AIDS virus.

There have been numerous reports of sufferers losing jobs, being denied treatment in hospitals and having their children thrown out of schools.

The government has been trying to end discrimination by providing counseling and free medical care in state-run hospitals to affected people and firing doctors who neglect them.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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