The number of HIV-infected Filipino migrant workers continues to rise with 91 new cases reported in March.

Aniceto Bertiz III, a member of the House of Representatives, said in March last year, there were 80 reported cases of Filipino migrant workers infected with HIV. That number increased by 14% in the same month this year with 91 new cases, Manila Standard reported.

“The March cases brought to 6,524 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 those in the National HIV/AIDS Registry worked overseas within the past five years, either on land or at sea, when they were diagnosed as HIV-positive. Most of the workers were from Metro Manila with 2,110 cases, or 32%, followed by Calabarzon with 1,139 cases and Central Luzon with 761 cases.

The Department of Labor and Employment has been called on to deliver “highly improved support” to the increasing number of migrant workers infected with HIV. Earlier this year, the AIDS Prevention and Control Law took effect, which calls for all Filipino migrant workers to undergo a seminar on HIV as a pre-departure requirement.

“The preventive education seminar is to be provided for free and at no cost to Filipino migrant workers or to the staff concerned,” Bertiz said.