OFWs make up over 25% of HIV patients in PH; 124 donated blood units found contaminated with HIV

Over 25 percent of the recorded HIV-positive patients in the Philippines are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). Out of the 5,729 cases in the country, 1,501 are OFWs, GMANews.tv reports. About 75 percent of the OFW patients are males.

GMANews.tv reports that about 96 percent of the OFW patients caught the disease through sexual contact. "OFWs are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because they are exposed to foreign cultures that tend to abet high-risk behavior, including casual sex," TUCP Secretary General Ernesto Herrerra said. "Sailors are often deluged by commercial sex workers at their foreign ports of call, and they have the money to pay for the services." He added that the statistics emphasize the need for aggressive promotion of male and female condoms.

News on Q report

Meanwhile, 124 donated blood units were found HIV-contaminated, according to House Rep. Arnel Ty, who cited the National Voluntary Blood Safety Program. The Department of Health (DOH) has already disposed of these units, reports News on Q. Over 600 more units were also discarded because their purity could not be completely verified. The DOH assured the public that all blood donations go through a rigorous screening process.

For more on this story, log on to GMANews.tv and ABS-CBNNews.com.

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