MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers should follow safe sex methods as a United Nations study revealed that Filipina workers employed in the Arab region face a high risk of being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes AIDS Or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a recruitment consultant said Saturday.
Emmanuel Geslani was reacting to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) study in August 2007 which revealed that 84 percent of Filipina migrant workers were aware that HIV is sexually transmitted and condom use could prevent its transmission.
However, despite the high level of awareness, most of the respondents admitted having engaged in unsafe sex.
Filipina migrant workers are required to attend a pre-departure orientation seminar, which includes an HIV orientation.
From the UNDP study, it appears that most workers rarely focus their attention to the warnings of unsafe sex during those seminars.
At the same time, all workers — male or female — are screened for HIV by medical clinics accredited by the host countries.
The study urged the Department of Health to develop and enforce implementing guidelines for the proper conduct of HIV screenings of OFWS, including pre-and post-test counseling.
In a related development, Geslani said the association of medical clinics accredited to the Middle East countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar vowed to uphold the integrity and accuracy of medical exams for OFWs bound for those countries especially on HIV screenings to prevent any migrant worker with AIDS to work abroad.
The new chairman and president of the GCC Accredited Medical Centers Association (GAMCA) Dr. Rodolfo Punzalan said that all 17 member clinics have upgraded their equipment and facilities to detect infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, using only state of the art equipment and lately the fourth generation reagents especially on Hepatitis C.
VDRL and TPHA are also performed on OFWs leaving for work abroad. (VDRL test is a very sensitive test for detecting syphilis infection. If the VDRL test is positive, the confirmatory tests, TPHA must be performed. Only when both the tests are positive is the diagnosis of syphilis confirmed.)
Punzalan is scheduled to meet with recruitment agencies on March 25 to thresh out problems on complaints from agencies regarding repetitive medical exams on OFW applicants. – INQUIRER.net