HIV Spreading Fast Among Filipino Migrant Workers

At least 11 percent of 52,280 Filipinos who have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or who have full-blown AIDS are migrant workers, a new report shows.

Data from the Philippines' Department of Health show there are 5,537 Filipinos working abroad who tested positive for HIV or AIDS as of Feb. 28.

Church leaders have been voicing alarm at the rising number of cases, especially among young people, for several years. Even the clergy have been advised to undergo tests for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

Lawmaker, Aniceto Bertiz III, of the migrant workers party in Congress said of those migrants who tested positive, 4,763 were male.

At least 140 migrant workers were newly diagnosed with HIV from January to February this year. The new cases break down as 129 males and 11 females.

"This is very unfortunate," said the legislator, adding that most of those who are infected are in their early 30s or "in the prime of their lives in terms of potential workforce productivity."

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