The Philippines does not have any HIV-specific laws that criminalise HIV non-disclosure, perceived ‘exposure’ or transmission. However, the recently enacted Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act 2018 includes a provision, Section 47, which states that any person who knows they have HIV is “strongly encouraged” to disclose their HIV status to a spouse, sexual partner, or other person prior to engaging in penetrative sex, or any potential exposure to HIV. This is an improvement on the HIV non-disclosure offence from the previous Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act 1998 which stated that a person was “obliged” to disclose their HIV status to a spouse or sexual partner at the earliest opportune time (Section 34).
Section 47 also states that a person living with HIV may seek help from a qualified professional to support disclosure to a partner or spouse, and that the Department of Health will establish an enabling environment to encourage newly tested HIV-positive individuals to disclose their status to partners. Further, it states prophylactics (used or unused) will not be uses as the basis for criminal investigations.
Section 30 of the Act also imposes compulsory HIV testing on anyone wishing to make a blood donation.
There are a number of general criminal laws that could theoretically be applied (see below). However, HIV Justice Network is not aware of any HIV criminalisation cases reported in the Philippines to date.
Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act 2018
Section 30. Compulsory HIV Testing
Compulsory HIV testing shall be allowed only in the following instances:
(c) As a prerequisite in the donation of blood in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 7170, otherwise known as the “Organ Donation Act of 1991”, and Republic Act No. 7719, otherwise known as the “National Blood Services Act of 1994”.
Section 47. Disclosure to persons with potential exposure to HIV
Any person who, after having been tested, is found to be infected with HIV is strongly encouraged to disclosure this health condition to the spouse, sexual partners, and/or any person prior to engaging in penetrative sex or any potential exposure to HIV. A person living with HIV may seek help from qualified professionals including medical professionals health workers, peer educators, or social workers to support him in disclosing this health condition to one’s partner or spouse. Confidentiality shall likewise be observed. Further the DOH, through the PNAC, shall establish an enabling environment to encourage newly tested HIV positive individuals to disclose their status to partners.
Penal Code 1930
Article 264. Administering injurious substances or beverages —
The penalties established by the next preceding article shall be applicable in the respective case to any person who, without intent to kill, shall inflict upon another any serious, physical injury, by knowingly administering to him any injurious substance or beverages or by taking advantage of his weakness of mind or credulity.
Art. 263. Serious physical injuries. —
Any person who shall wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of serious physical injuries and shall suffer:
- The penalty of prison mayor, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the injured person shall become insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;
- The penalty of prison correctional in its medium and maximum periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have lost the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg or shall have lost the use of any such member, or shall have become incapacitated for the work in which he was therefore habitually engaged;
- The penalty of prison correctional in its minimum and medium periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have become deformed, or shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance of the work in which he as habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety days;
4. The penalty of arrest mayor in its maximum period to prison correctional in its minimum period, if the physical injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.
Our thanks to Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.