PNAC CHAIR SEC DUQUE SIGNS IRR OF NEW HIV LAW, MORE SUPPORT FOR PLHIV

Press Release/12 July 2019

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, together with other PNAC Members, signed today the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11166, otherwise known as the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act. This law, which repealed the old HIV law (RA 8504), aims to effectively address the growing HIV epidemic in the country.

“We are confident that the new law will forge a stronger alliance among government, private sector, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, media, and all stakeholders in order for us to overcome this HIV epidemic,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

It should be noted that the average of one infection per day recorded in 2008 has now ballooned to 36 new infections per day as of April 2019. “We should act now as fast as we can since 29% (240/840) of all new confirmed HIV cases last April 2019 belong to our youth aged 15-24 years old,” the health chief explained.

In order to meet the worsening situation, the new law provides for the lowering of age of consent from 18 to 15 years old to avail of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. The law specifically provides for intervention through the matured minor doctrine and the provision of proxy consent for children below 15 years old.

The education component is strengthened where education in learning institutions will focus not only on the right information regarding HIV and AIDS but also in human rights principles to reduce stigma and discrimination. HIV education will also cover communities including Indigenous People communities and the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas.

The new law provides a “Comprehensive Intervention” for the key affected population which includes males having sex with males (MSM), sex workers, people who inject drugs (PWID), transgender (TG), and overseas Filipino workers (OFW). The law also provides care and support to all PLHIV, their affected families and especially the orphaned children.

This law also ensures the development of program for treatment, care and support for persons confined in jails, rehabilitation centers and other closed-setting institutions.

Another provision of the law are the stiffer penalties for breaching confidentiality with regards to ones’ HIV status, and much higher liability for those who have access to this information.

No PLHIV shall be denied or deprived of private health insurance under a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and private life insurance coverage and under a life insurance company on the basis of a person’s HIV status.

“The active involvement of all HIV and AIDS stakeholders will be the key element for the success in the implementation of this new law in achieving the overall health of the PLHIV Communities. This law ensures the effective implementation of our country response to HIV and AIDS through the Philippine National AIDS Council.”  Secretary Duque concluded.