Solon cites health threat on OFWs

Published by rudy Date posted on April 9, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who bring billions worth of remittances to the country every year may dwindle in the years to come because of the increasing threat from AIDS and Human Immunodeficiency Virus or the HIV virus, a lawmaker warned on Saturday.

Because of this, LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty urged the House of Representatives to ascertain whether existing policies and measures in AIDS Prevention and Control Law are sufficient to quell the HIV and AIDS epidemic and improve the conditions of OFWs and other Filipinos living with the disease.

“There is no question that HIV and AIDS is ravaging our OFWs (considering that) they are extremely susceptible to the disease owing to their high-risk sexual behavior when they are outside the country,” Ty said in a statement.

Ty said from January to February, around 12 percent or 36 out of the total 311 newly-reported HIV positive cases diagnosed in the country have been OFWs, bringing the number to 6,326 total cases listed in the National HIV and AIDS Registry.

He said a total of 1,558 OFWs, with the median age of 36 years, have been found either HIV positive or with full-blown Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) since the country began passive surveillance of the disease in 1984.

Filing House Resolution No. 724, Ty has been pushing for a review of the 12-year-old AIDS Prevention and Control Law to find ways to reinforce the fight against the highly infectious disease. He has also been appealing for increased public funding for preventive HIV and AIDS education. –RIO ROSE RIBAYA, Manila Bulletin

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