The number of Filipino migrant workers infected with HIV increased to a total of 6,433 cases in February.
Aniceto Bertiz, member of the Philippine House of Representative, said that a total of 88 migrant workers were recently diagnosed with HIV in February, which is up 22% from the 72 cases in the same month last year, Manila Standard reported.
“The February cases brought to 6,433 the cumulative number of Filipino migrant workers found living with HIV since the government began passive surveillance of the virus in 1984,” Bertiz said.
Bertiz said migrant workers make up 10% of the over 60,000 confirmed cases listed in the National HIV/AIDS Registry. Of the 6,433 migrant workers in the registry, 86% are male. Bertiz said 72% of the male migrant workers were infected via sexual contact with men.
Facing such increasing numbers, Bertiz called on the Department of Labor and Employment to deliver “highly improved support” with the new AIDS Prevention and Control Law that took effect earlier this year.
“Under the law, the economic, social and medical support is to be extended to all Filipino migrant workers, regardless of employment status and stage in the migration process,” he said.
Under the new law, migrant workers are required to attend a seminar on the causes, manner of prevention and impact of HIV and AIDS before they go overseas to work.