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wEDNEsDAY MAY e, zorg i A3

mst.daydesk@ gmail.com

OFWs infected with HIV

up by Z}D/oinFebruary

By MaricelV. Cruz

TOTAL of 88 overseas Filipino workers were

recently diagnosed as human immunodeficiency

virus (HlV)-positive in February, up {2 pp4cent

from72 in the same month in 2018, an opposition

lawmaker said on Tuesday.

growing number of OFWs living with

HIV, as mandated by the new AIDS

Prevention and Control Law tlat took

effect earlier this year. Section 37 of the new law obligates

the Qverseas Workers Welfare

Administration,

agencies, to

together with other

develop a program to

provide stigma-fiee comprehensive

reintegration, care

and support for

OFWs with HIY Bertiz said.

"The February cases brought to 6333 had a median age of34

years.

"Under the law, the economic, social

the cumulative number ofOFWs found Of the male OFW cases,

living with HIV since the government 72 percent

Bertiz said and medical support is to be exiended

were found infected via to all OFWs, regardless of employment

or men. status and stage

(2,328 ftom process," Bertiz said.

in the migration

began passive surveillance ofthe virus sexual contact among MSM,

in 1984," said Rep. Aniceto

Bertiz III.

who have sex with men

Bertiz said OFWs now

comprise male-to-male sex and 1,674 from sex

with both males and females).

l0 percent of the 64,291 confirmed

Section 17 of the law also requires

all overseas-bound Filipino workers as

cases listed in the National HMAIDS Registry as ofFebruary.

The OFWs in the registry worked

abroad within the past five years, either

on land or at seq when they were

diagnosed HlV-positive , Bertiz said,

Of the 6,433 OFWs in the registry,

86 percent, or 5,553, were male with a median age of32 years. The 880 female OFWs in the registry

HIV causes AIDS, or the Acquired

Immune Deficiency Syndrome,

well as

Philippine govemment staff for

posting to undergo a seminar

causes, manner of prevention,

which foreign

destroys the human body's natural on the

ability io fight offall kinds ofinfections.

Though the

and AIDS, prior

condition still does not have to certification for deploy'rnent or

and impact of HIV

any known cure, antirefoviral

of Labor and

"highly

therapy assignment, Bediz said.

has been known to slow down the virus. "The preventive education seminar is Bertiz called on the Department to be provided lor ftee and at no cost to

Employment to deliver OFWS or to the staff concemed," Bertiz

improved support" to the said.

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