RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Health authorities are alarmed with the spike in the number of overseas Filipino workers infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
“Noon, ang kaso ay tatlo lamang sa isang araw. Pero imaginin ninyo tatlong taon lang ang nakalipas pero sampung kaso na po tayo kada araw,” said Ryan Pinili, vice president for external affairs of the Take The Test Campaign, Inc.
According to the Philippine Department of Health, there were a total of 313 HIV positive cases reported in March. Of the total HIV positive cases, 37 were OFWs comprising of 31 males and 6 females with the age range of 20-56 years old. The DOH said all acquired the infection through sexual contact.
In December 2011, there were 21 OFWs, out of the total 268 cases, infected with HIV.
The “Take The Test” campaign began in 2010. The campaign encourages Filipinos to have their blood tested for HIV.
Those behind the campaign continue to urge vacationing OFWs to take advantage of the free blood test in clinics around the country.
“Makakasiguro po kayo na hindi po malalaman ng kahit sino pa man ang estado ninyo sa usapin ng HIV kung sakali na lumabas ang resulta,” said Pinili.
Last month, six OFWs infected with HIV were deported from the Middle East
A total of 1,005 AIDS cases were reported from 1984 to 2012. Of the total AIDS reported cases, 348 have already died. Sexual contract accounts for 94 percent of the HIV mode of transmission. - Roland Blanco, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau