Don’t Go Into HIV Discrimination If You Haven’t Read The R.A. 8504
Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced the exam result for 2013 Bar Examination. It rekindled my thirst of becoming a lawyer (by the way, I am a dropout law student). I always wanted to defend my advocacy not just specific injustices. After all, the minority group like the LGBT community has been plagued with so many injustices that each of LGBT or non-LGBT supporter must address.
For the most part, one injustice that we can think off, aside from marriage inequality, is the matter about having HIV and living in a quite-discriminating-due-to-ignorance-place like the Philippines.
Fear not, for in the law alone, people with HIV/AIDS are protected thru the R.A. 8504 or also known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.”
Article I: Education and Information – Section 6: HIV/AIDS Education in the Workplace
- All government and private employees shall be provided with standardized basic information and instruction on HIV and AIDS.
- HIV / AIDS education shall be integrated into orientation, training, continuing education, HR dev’t programs, etc
- Each employer shall develop, implement, evaluate and fund a workplace HIV and AIDS education and information program.
- In collaboration with the DOH, DOLE shall oversee the anti-HIV/AIDS campaign in all private companies.
Article III: Testing, Screening and Counseling:
- Section 16: Prohibition on Compulsory HIV Testing
Compulsory HIV testing as a precondition to employment, admission to educational institutions, the provision of medical service or any kind of service shall be deemed unlawful.Exceptions to Prohibition on Compulsory HIV Testing
- When charged with crime under the Revised Penal Code, Death penalty Act, Anti-rape Law
- When resolving issues relevant to the Family Code
- When complying with requirements of organ or blood donation
- Reportorial requirements
- When informing health workers directly involved in treatment and care of persons with HIV/AIDS
- When responding to legal proceedings where the main issue is the HIV status of a person
- Section 18: Anonymous HIV Testing
- Section 19: Accreditation of HIV Testing Centers
- Section 20: Pre-test and Post-test Counselling
Article VI: Confidentiality
- Section 30: Medical Confidentiality
All health professionals, medical instructors, workers, employers, recruitment agencies, insurance companies, data encoders, and other custodians of any medical records, file, data or test results to observe strict confidentiality particularly the identity and status of persons with HIVRelease of HIV/AIDS Test Results will only be allowed to the following parties:
- Person who was tested
- Parent of minor if minor
- Legal guardian of mentally handicapped person
- Person authorized to receive results for AIDSWATCH
- Justice of Court of Appeals or Supreme Court
- Section 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.
Article VII: Discriminatory Acts and Policies – Section 35: Workplace Discrimination
- Discrimination in any form from preemployment 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.
- Persons with HIV/AIDS already employed by any public or private company shall be entitled to the same
employment rights, benefits and opportunities as other employees.
- HIV infected employees shall act responsibly to protect own health and prevent HIV transmission
- Acts of discrimination shall be reported to DOLE or to CSC
- Misleading information / advertising
2 months to 2 years imprisonment
- Knowingly & negligently infecting others in the practice of one’s profession
6-12 years imprisonment, fines, suspension or revocation of license/accreditation
- Violations on medical confidentiality
6 months to 4 years imprisonment, fines, suspension or revocation of license/accreditation
- Discriminatory acts & policies
6 months to 4 years imprisonment, fines of not over P10,000, revocation of license/permits
Mandate of the Philippine National AIDS Council
To be the central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated HIV / AIDS prevention and control program in the Philippines.
And here are some of the FAQ’s the we must know under R.A. 8504:
Does PLHIV have rights?
According to R.A. 8504, PLHIVs have rights and these are as follows:
1. Compulsory HIV testing
It means that it shall be considered unlawful unless otherwise provided in this act which is the right to privacy of individual with HIV.
2. Provision of basic health and social services for individual with HIV.
Every PLHIV has access to all the basic health and social services in the country.
3. Anonymous Testing
It refers to an HIV testing procedure whereby the individual being tested does not reveal his/her true identity. An identifying number or symbol is use to substitute for the name and allows the laboratory conducting the test and person on whom the test is conducted to match the test results with the identifying number or symbol.
4. 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.
5. 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 counseling, 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.
6. Pre-Test Counseling
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.
8. Voluntary HIV Testing
Refers to HIV testing done on an individual who, after having undergone pre-test counseling, willingly submits himself/herself to such test. (For the approval by the steering group/ editor if the highlighted ones are form part of the rights of the PLHIV).
To get more information on how to get tested, click here.
Don’t Go Into HIV Discrimination If You Haven’t Read The R.A. 8504
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