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.
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.
Our thanks to Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.