Rising HIV cases among OFWs noted

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Rep. Ron Salo, Kabayan partylist and assistant majority leader and a member of the foreign affairs, overseas workers affairs and 10 other committees of the lower house, noted a rapid spread among OFWs, millennials and men having sex with men (MSM) that has reached worrisome proportion.

 

Citing the latest data of the Department of Health, Salo said the number of recorded cases among OFWs in particular have risen from 92 cases in 2005 to 814 in 2017.

 

Counting from January 1984 to December 2017, 11 percent (5,453 cases) of all the recorded 50,725 HIV cases involved OFWs.  The DOH said 70 percent of the 5,453 OFWs with HIV got infected through MSM transmission.

 

It is therefore of urgent priority that the new comprehensive HIV program of the national government must be rolled out as soon as possible, he said.

 

The trigger for this is the signing of the new law replacing the old anti-HIV program, he said adding that he hopes that the new measure will become law in the next few weeks.

 

As one of the principal authors of the proposed "Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act” (House Bill 6617), he asked all the concerned government agencies to undertake a parallel effort in preparing the implementing rules and regulations of the legislative measure in anticipation for its passage very soon. This will ensure that when the measure is signed into law, it will be immediately implemented.

 

The House of Representatives approved House Bill 6617 on December 4, 2017. The Senate version of the measure (Senate Bill 1390) is in the period of interpellation currently.

 

The war against HIV AIDS must be strong, community-based, and protect the most vulnerable sectors: millennial youths and young adults, the MSM, OFWs, and defenseless children. 

 

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