A lawmaker in the Philippines has called for heightened vigilance on HIV as the number of Filipino migrant workers infected with the disease continues to increase.

Aniceto Bertriz III, a representative of the party-list group ACTS-OFW, said some 6,135 Filipino migrant workers have been infected with HIV, which is about 10% of the almost 60,000 Filipinos known to be infected with the disease, GMA News reported.

“Filipino migrant workers are especially at risk because once they are exposed to foreign cultures, they tend to let their guard down,” Bertiz said.

He said a total of 697 Filipino migrant workers were diagnosed with HIV from January to September this year, which is a 13.7% increase from the 613 cases in the same period in 2017.

Bertiz called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to devote more resources to preventive education for Filipino migrant workers and their families.

“Fighting AIDS through greater awareness and prevention is a top priority for us because one in 10 Filipino living with HIV is a migrant worker,” he said.