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ACT NO. 8504
Section 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as the "Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998."
Sec. 2. Declaration of policies. — Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that recognizes no territorial, social, political and economic boundaries for which there is no known cure. The gravity of the AIDS threat demands strong State action today, thus:
to every person suspected or known to be infected with HIV/AIDS full
of his/her human rights and civil liberties. Towards this end:
(2) the right to privacy of individuals with HIV shall be guaranteed;
(3) discrimination, in all its forms and subtleties, against individuals with HIV or persons perceived or suspected of having HIV shall be considered inimical to individual and national interest; and
(4) provision of basic health and social services for individuals with HIV shall be assured.
(d) The State shall positively address and seek to eradicate conditions that aggravate the spread of HIV infection, including but not limited to, poverty, gender inequality, prostitution, marginalization, drug abuse and ignorance.
(e) The State shall recognize the potential role of affected individuals in propagating vital information and educational messages about HIV/AIDS and shall utilize their experience to warn the public about the disease.
Sec. 3. Definition of terms. — As used in this Act, the following terms are defined as follows:cralaw
(b) "Anonymous Testing" — refers to an HIV testing procedure whereby the individual being tested does not reveal his/her true identity. An identifying number or symbol is used to substitute for the name and allows the laboratory conducting the test and the person on whom the test is conducted to match the test results with the identifying number or symbol.
(c) "Compulsory HIV Testing" — refers to HIV testing imposed upon a person attended or characterized by the lack of or vitiated consent, use of physical force, intimidation or any form of compulsion.
(d) "Contact tracing" — refers to the method of finding and counselling the sexual partner(s) of a person who has been diagnosed as having sexually transmitted disease.
(e) "Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)" — refers to the virus which causes AIDS.
(f) "HIV/AIDS Monitoring" — refers to the documentation and analysis of the number of HIV/AIDS infections and the pattern of its spread.
(g) "HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control" — refers to measures aimed at protecting non-infected from contracting HIV and minimizing the impact of the condition of persons living with HIV.
(h) "HIV-positive" — refers to the presence of HIV infection as documented by the presence of HIV or HIV antibodies in the sample being tested.
(i) "HIV-negative" — denotes the absence of HIV or HIV antibodies upon HIV testing.
(j) "HIV Testing" — refers to any laboratory procedure done on an individual to determine the presence or absence of HIV infection.
(k) "HIV Transmission" — refers to the transfer of HIV from one infected person to an uninfected individual, most commonly through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, sharing of intravenous needles and during pregnancy.
(l) "High-Risk Behavior" — refers to a person's frequent involvement in certain activities which increase the risk of transmitting or acquiring HIV.
(m) "Informed Consent" — refers to the voluntary agreement of a person to undergo or be subjected to a procedure based on full information, whether such permission is written, conveyed verbally, or expressed indirectly.
(n) "Medical Confidentiality" — refers to the relationship of trust and confidence created or existing between a patient or a person with HIV and his attending physician, consulting medical specialist, nurse, medical technologist and all other health workers or personnel involved in any counselling, testing or professional care of the former; it also applies to any person who, in any official capacity, has acquired or may have acquired such confidential information.
(o) "Person with HIV" — refers to an individual whose HIV test indicates, directly or indirectly, that he/she is infected with HIV.
(p) "Pre-Test Counselling" — refers to the process of providing an individual information on the biomedical aspects of HIV/AIDS and emotional support to any psychological implications of undergoing HIV testing and the test result itself before he/she is subjected to the test.
(q) "Post-Test Counselling" — refers to the process of providing risk-reduction information and emotional support to a person who submitted to HIV testing at the time that the test result is released.
— refers to any agent or device used to prevent the transmission of a
(t) "Voluntary HIV Testing" — refers to HIV testing done on an individual who, after having undergone pre-test counselling, willingly submits himself/herself to such test.
(u) "Window Period" — refers to the period of time, usually lasting from two weeks to six (6) months during which an infected individual will test "negative" upon HIV testing but can actually transmit the infection.
EDUCATION AND INFORMATION
Sec. 4. HIV/AIDS education in schools. — The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and skills Development Authority (TESDA), utilizing official information provided by the Department of Health, shall integrate instruction on the causes, modes of transmission and ways of preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in subjects taught in public and private schools at intermediate grades, secondary and tertiary levels, including non-formal and indigenous learning systems: Provided, That if the integration of HIV/AIDS education is not appropriate or feasible, the DECS and TESDA shall design special modules on HIV/AIDS prevention and control: Provided, further, That it shall not be used as an excuse to propagate birth control or the sale or distribution of birth control devices: Provided, finally, That it does not utilize sexually explicit materials.
Flexibility in the formulation and adoption of appropriate course content, scope, and methodology in each educational level or group shall be allowed after consultations with Parent-Teachers-Community Associations, Private School Associations, school officials, and other interest groups. As such, no instruction shall be offered to minors without adequate prior consultation with parents who must agree to the thrust and content of the instruction materials.
All teachers and instructors of said HIV/AIDS courses shall be required to undergo a seminar or training on HIV/AIDS prevention and control to be supervised by DECS, CHED and TESDA, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), before they are allowed to teach on the subject.
Sec. 5. HIV/AIDS information as a health service. — HIV/AIDS education and information dissemination shall form part of the delivery of health services by health practitioners, workers and personnel. The knowledge and capabilities of all public health workers shall be enhanced to include skills for proper information dissemination and education on HIV/AIDS. It shall likewise be considered a civic duty of health providers in the private sector to make available to the public such information necessary to control the spread of HIV/AIDS and to correct common misconceptions about this disease. The training or health workers shall include discussions on HIV-related ethical issues such as confidentiality, informed consent and the duty to provide treatment.
Sec. 6. HIV/AIDS education in the workplace. — All government and private employees, workers, managers, and supervisors, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), shall be provided with the standardized basic information and instruction on HIV/AIDS which shall include topics on confidentiality in the workplace and attitude towards infected employees and workers. In collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall oversee the anti-HIV/AIDS campaign in all private companies while the Armed Forces Chief of Staff and the Director General of the PNP shall oversee the implementation of this Sec..
Sec. 7. HIV/AIDS education for Filipinos going abroad. — The State shall ensure that all overseas Filipino workers and diplomatic, military, trade, and labor officials and personnel to be assigned overseas shall undergo or attend a seminar on the cause, prevention and consequences of HIV/AIDS before certification for overseas assignment. The Department of Labor and Employment or the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Immigration, as the case may be, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), shall oversee the implementation of this Sec..
Sec. 8. Information campaign for tourists and transients. — Informational aids or materials on the cause, modes of transmission, prevention, and consequences of HIV infection shall be adequately provided at all international ports of entry and exit. The Department of Tourism, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Immigration, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), shall oversee the implementation of this Act.
Sec. 9. HIV/AIDS education in communities. — Local government units, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), shall conduct an educational and information campaign on HIV/AIDS. The provincial governor, city or municipal mayor and the barangay captain shall coordinate such campaign among concerned government agencies, non-government organizations and church-based groups.
Sec. 10. Information on prophylactics. — Appropriate information shall be attached to or provided with every prophylactic offered for sale or given as a donation. Such information shall be legibly printed in English and Filipino, and contain literature on the proper use of the prophylactic device or agent, its efficacy against HIV and STD infection, as well as the importance of sexual abstinence and mutual fidelity.
Sec. 11. Penalties for misleading information. — Misinformation on HIV/AIDS prevention and control through false and misleading advertising and claims in any of the tri-media or the promotional marketing of drugs, devices, agents or procedures without prior approval from the Department of Health and the Bureau of Food and Drugs and the requisite medical and scientific basis, including markings and indications in drugs and devises or agents, purporting to be a cure or a fail-safe prophylactic for HIV infection is punishable with a penalty of imprisonment for two (2) months to two (2) years, without prejudice to the imposition of administrative sanctions such as fines and suspension or revocation of professional or business license.
Sec. 12. Requirement on the donation of blood, tissue, or organ. — No laboratory or institution shall accept a donation of tissue or organ, whether such donation is gratuitous or onerous, unless a sample from the donor has been tested negative for HIV. All donated blood shall also be subjected to HIV testing and HIV(+) blood shall be disposed of properly and immediately. A second testing may be demanded as a matter of right by the blood, tissue, or organ recipient or his immediate relatives before transfusion or transplant, except during emergency cases: Provided, That donations of blood, tissue, or organ testing positive for HIV may be accepted for research purposes only, and subject to strict sanitary disposal requirements.
Sec. 13. Guidelines
on surgical and similar procedures. — The Department of Health
in consultation and in coordination with concerned professional
and hospital associations, shall issue guidelines on precautions
HIV transmission during surgical, dental, embalming, tattooing or
procedures. The DOH shall likewise issue guidelines on the handling and
disposition of cadavers, body fluids or wastes of persons known or
to be HIV-positive.
Sec. 14. Penalties for unsafe practices and procedures. — Any person who knowingly or negligently causes another to get infected with HIV in the course of the practice of his/her profession through unsafe and unsanitary practice or procedure is liable to suffer a penalty of imprisonment for six (6) years to twelve (12) years, without prejudice to the imposition of administrative sanctions such as, but not limited to, fines and suspension or revocation of the license to practice his/her profession. The permit or license of any business entity and the accreditation of hospitals, laboratory, or clinics may be cancelled or withdrawn if said establishments fail to maintain such safe practices and procedures as may be required by the guidelines to be formulated in compliance with Sec. 13 of this Act.
Sec. 15. Consent as a requisite for HIV testing. — No compulsory HIV testing shall be allowed. However, the State shall encourage voluntary testing for individuals with a high risk for contracting HIV: Provided, That written informed consent must first be obtained. Such consent shall be obtained from the person concerned if he/she is of legal age or from the parents or legal guardian in the case of a minor or a mentally incapacitated individual. Lawful consent to HIV testing of a donated human body, organ, tissue, or blood shall be considered as having been given when:
(b) a person has executed a legacy in accordance with Sec. 3 of Republic Act No. 7170, also known as the "Organ Donation Act of 1991";
(c) a donation is executed in accordance with Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 7170.
Sec. 16. Prohibitions on compulsory HIV testing. — Compulsory HIV testing as a precondition to employment, admission to educational institutions, the exercise of freedom of abode, entry or continued stay in the country, or the right to travel, the provision of medical service or any other kind of service, or the continued enjoyment of said undertakings shall be deemed unlawful.
Sec. 17. Exception to the prohibition on compulsory testing. — Compulsory HIV testing may be allowed only in the following instances:
b) When the determination of the HIV status is necessary to resolve the relevant issues under Executive Order No. 309, otherwise known as the "Family Code of the Philippines"; and
c) When complying with the provisions of Republic Act No. 7170, otherwise known as the "Organ Donation Act" and Republic Act No. 7719, otherwise known as the "National Blood Services Act".
Sec. 18. Anonymous HIV testing. — The State shall provide a mechanism for anonymous HIV testing and shall guarantee anonymity and medical confidentiality in the conduct of such tests.
Sec. 19. Accreditation of HIV Testing Centers. — All testing centers, hospitals, clinics, and laboratories offering HIV testing services are mandated to seek accreditation from the Department of Health which shall set and maintain reasonable accreditation standards.
Sec. 20. Pre-test and post-test counselling. — All testing centers, clinics, or laboratories which perform any HIV test shall be required to provide and conduct free pre-test counselling and post-test counselling for persons who avail of their HIV/AIDS testing services. However, such counselling services must be provided only by persons who meet the standards set by the DOH.
Sec. 21. Support for HIV Testing Centers. — The Department of Health shall strategically build and enhance the capabilities for HIV testing of hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and other testing centers primarily, by ensuring the training of competent personnel who will provide such services in said testing sites.
Sec. 22. Hospital-based services. — Persons with HIV/AIDS shall be afforded basic health services in all government hospitals, without prejudice to optimum medical care which may be provided by special AIDS wards and hospitals.
Sec. 23. Community-based services. — Local government units, in coordination and in cooperation with concerned government agencies, non-government organizations, persons with HIV/AIDS and groups most at risk of HIV infection shall provide community-based HIV/AIDS prevention and care services.
Sec. 24. Livelihood programs and trainings. — Trainings for livelihood, self-help cooperative programs shall be made accessible and available to all persons with HIV/AIDS. Persons infected with HIV/AIDS shall not be deprived of full participation in any livelihood, self-help and cooperative programs for reason of their health conditions.
Sec. 25. Control of sexually transmitted diseases. — The Department of Health, in coordination and in cooperation with concerned government agencies and non-government organizations shall pursue the prevention and control of sexually transmitted diseases to help contain the spread of HIV infection.
Sec. 26. Insurance for persons with HIV. — The Secretary of Health, in cooperation with the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission and other public and private insurance agencies, shall conduct a study on the feasibility and viability of setting up a package of insurance benefits and, should such study warrant it, implement an insurance coverage program for persons with HIV. The study shall be guided by the principle that access to health insurance is part of an individual's right to health and is the responsibility of the State and of society as a whole.
Sec. 27. Monitoring program. — A comprehensive HIV/AIDS monitoring program or "AIDSWATCH" shall be established under the Department of Health to determine and monitor the magnitude and progression of HIV infection in the Philippines, and for the purpose of evaluating the adequacy and efficacy of the countermeasures being employed.
Sec. 28. Reporting procedures. — All hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and testing centers for HIV/AIDS shall adopt measures in assuring the reporting and confidentiality of any medical record, personal data, file, including all data which may be accessed from various data banks or information systems. The Department of Health through its AIDSWATCH monitoring program shall receive, collate and evaluate all HIV/AIDS related medical reports. The AIDSWATCH data base shall utilize a coding system that promotes client anonymity.
Sec. 29. Contact tracing. — HIV/AIDS contact tracing and all other related health intelligence activities may be pursued by the Department of Health: Provided, That these do not run counter to the general purpose of this Act: Provided, further, That any information gathered shall remain confidential and classified, and can only be used for statistical and monitoring purposes and not as basis or qualification for any employment, school attendance, freedom of abode, or travel.
Sec. 30. Medical confidentiality. — All health professionals, medical instructors, workers, employers, recruitment agencies, insurance companies, data encoders, and other custodians of any medical record, file, data, or test results are directed to strictly observe confidentiality in the handling of all medical information, particularly the identity and status of persons with HIV.
Sec. 31. Exceptions to the mandate of confidentiality. — Medical confidentiality shall not be considered breached in the following cases:
(b) when informing other health workers directly involved or about to be involved in the treatment or care of a person with HIV/AIDS: Provided, That such treatment or care carry the risk of HIV transmission: Provided, further, That such workers shall be obliged to maintain the shared medical confidentiality;
(c) when responding to a subpoena duces tecum and subpoena ad testificandum issued by a Court with jurisdiction over a legal proceeding where the main issue is the HIV status of an individual: Provided, That the confidential medical record shall be properly sealed by its lawful custodian after being double-checked for accuracy by the head of the office or department, hand delivered, and personally opened by the judge: Provided, further, That the judicial proceedings be held in executive session.
Sec. 32. Release of HIV/AIDS test results. — All results of HIV/AIDS testing shall be confidential and shall be released only to the following persons:cralaw
(b) either parent of a minor child who has been tested;
(c) a legal guardian in the case of insane persons or orphans;
(d) a person authorized to receive such results in conjunction with the AIDSWATCH program as provided in Sec. 27 of this Act;
(e) a justice of the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, as provided under subSec. (c) of this Act and in accordance with the provision of Sec. 16 hereof.
Sec. 33. Penalties for violations of confidentiality. — Any violation of medical confidentiality as provided in Sec.s 30 and 32 of this Act shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six (6) months to four (4) years, without prejudice to administrative sanctions such as fines and suspension or revocation of the violator's license to practice his/her profession, as well as the cancellation or withdrawal of the license to operate any business entity and the accreditation of hospitals, laboratories or clinics.
Sec. 34. Disclosure to sexual partners. — Any person with HIV is obliged to disclose his/her HIV status and health condition to his/her spouse or sexual partner at the earliest opportune time.
Sec. 35. Discrimination in the workplace. — Discrimination in any form from pre-employment to post-employment, including hiring, promotion or assignment, based on the actual, perceived or suspected HIV status of an individual is prohibited. Termination from work on the sole basis of actual, perceived or suspected HIV status is deemed unlawful.
Sec. 36. Discrimination in schools. — No educational institution shall refuse admission or expel, discipline, segregate, deny participation, benefits or services to a student or prospective student on the basis of his/her actual, perceived or suspected HIV status.
Sec. 37. Restrictions on travel and habitation. — The freedom of abode, lodging and travel of a person with HIV shall not be abridged. No person shall be quarantined, placed in isolation, or refused lawful entry into or deported from Philippine territory on account of his/her actual, perceived or suspected HIV status.
Sec. 38. Inhibition from public service. — The right to seek an elective or appointive public office shall not be denied to a person with HIV.
Sec. 39. Exclusion from credit and insurance services. — All credit and loan services, including health, accident and life insurance shall not be denied to a person on the basis of his/her actual, perceived or suspected HIV status: Provided, That the person with HIV has not concealed or misrepresented the fact to the insurance company upon application. Extension and continuation of credit and loan shall likewise not be denied solely on the basis of said health condition.
Sec. 40. Discrimination in hospitals and health institutions. — No person shall be denied health care service or be charged with a higher fee on account of actual, perceived or suspected HIV status.
Sec. 41. Denial of burial services. — A deceased person who had AIDS or who was known, suspected or perceived to be HIV-positive shall not be denied any kind of decent burial services.
Sec. 42. Penalties for discriminatory acts and policies. — All discriminatory acts and policies referred to in this Act shall be punishable with a penalty of imprisonment for six (6) months to four (4) years and a fine not exceeding Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00). In addition, licenses/permits of schools, hospitals and other institutions found guilty of committing discriminatory acts and policies described in this Act shall be revoked.
Sec. 43. Establishment. — The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) created by virtue of Executive Order No. 39 dated 3 December 1992 shall be reconstituted and strengthened to enable the Council to oversee an integrated and comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the Philippines. It shall be attached to the Department of Health.
Sec. 44. Functions. — The Council shall be the central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS prevention and control program in the Philippines. The Council shall perform the following functions:
(2) The establishment of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS monitoring system;
(3) The issuance of guidelines on medical and other practices and procedures that carry the risk of HIV transmission;
(4) The provision of accessible and affordable HIV testing and counselling services to those who are in need of it;
(5) The provision of acceptable health and support services for persons with HIV/AIDS in hospitals and in communities;
(6) The protection and promotion of the rights of individuals with HIV; and
(7) The strict observance of medical confidentiality.
(c) Develop a comprehensive long-term national HIV/AIDS prevention and control program and monitor its implementation;
(d) Coordinate the activities of and strengthen working relationships between government and non-government agencies involved in the campaign against HIV/AIDS;
(e) Coordinate and cooperate with foreign and international organizations regarding data collection, research and treatment modalities concerning HIV/AIDS; and
(f) Evaluate the adequacy of and make recommendations regarding the utilization of national resources for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.
Sec. 45. Membership and composition. — (a) The Council shall be composed of twenty-six (26) members as follows:cralaw
(2) The Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports or his representative;
(3) The Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education or his representative;
(4) The Director-General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or his representative;
(5) The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment or his representative;
(6) The Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or his representative;
(7) The Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government or his representative;
(8) The Secretary of the Department of Justice or his representative;
(9) The Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority or his representative;
(10) The Secretary of the Department of Tourism or his representative;
(11) The Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management or his representative;
(12) The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs or his representative;
(13) The Head of the Philippine Information Agency or his representative;
(14) The President of the League of Governors or his representative;
(15) The President of the League of City Mayors or his representative;
(16) The Chairperson of the Committee on Health of the Senate of the Philippines or his representative;
Committee on Health of the House of Representatives or his
(19) Six (6) representatives from non-government organizations involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and control efforts or activities; and
(20) A representative of an organization of persons dealing with HIV/AIDS.
(b) To the greatest extent possible, appointment to the Council must ensure sufficient and discernible representation from the fields of medicine, education, health care, law, labor, ethics and social services;
(c) All members of the Council shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, except for the representatives of the Senate and the House of Representatives, who shall be appointed by the Senate President and the House Speaker, respectively;
(d) The members of the Council shall be appointed not later than thirty (30) days after the date of the enactment of this Act;
(e) The Secretary of Health shall be the permanent chairperson of the Council; however, the vice-chairperson shall be elected by its members from among themselves, and shall serve for a term of two (2) years; and
(f) For members representing medical/health professional groups and the six (6) non-government organizations, they shall serve for a term of two (2) years, renewable upon recommendation of the Council.
Sec. 46. Reports. — The Council shall submit to the President and to both Houses of Congress comprehensive annual reports on the activities and accomplishments of the Council. Such annual reports shall contain assessments and evaluation of intervention programs, plans and strategies for the medium- and long-term prevention and control program on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.
Sec. 47. Creation of Special HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Service. — There shall be created in the Department of Health a Special HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Service staffed by qualified medical specialists and support staff with permanent appointment and supported with an adequate yearly budget. It shall implement programs on HIV/AIDS prevention and control. In addition, it shall also serve as the secretariat of the Council.
Sec. 48. Appropriations. — The amount of Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) shall be initially appropriated out of the funds of the National Treasury. Subsequent appropriations shall be provided by Congress in the annual budget of the Department of Health under the General Appropriations Act.
Sec. 49. Implementing rules and regulations. — Within six (6) months after it is fully reconstituted, the Council shall formulate and issue the appropriate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this Act.
Sec. 50. Separability clause. — If any provision of this Act is declared invalid, the remainder of this Act or any provision not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.
Sec. 51. Repealing clause. — All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders and their implementing rules inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
Sec. 52. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: February 13, 1998
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