UNAIDS welcomes landmark HIV legislation in the Philippines
Bangkok/Manila, 11/01/2019: UNAIDS welcomes the signing by President Duterte of the new landmark HIV legislation, the Philippines HIV and AIDS Policy Act. The law provides a broad legislative framework for the response to HIV in the Philippines, giving the policy tools to reverse the growing HIV epidemic and creating a supportive environment for people living with and affected by HIV.
“With this new law, respect and dignity for people living with HIV and key populations prevail,” said Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS regional director for Asia and the Pacific. “I applaud the tireless advocacy efforts of civil society and community groups, who have worked hand-in-hand with government particularly with Philippine National AIDS Council, and champions in the Philippine Congress to make this groundbreaking law a reality.”
The new legislation restructures the legal framework of the HIV response and ensures the effectiveness of its governing structure. Among its provisions, the act introduces reforms to the Philippine National AIDS Council enhancing representation of civil society and key populations, identifies domestic funding sources for HIV programs, and ensures inclusion of HIV services in the social health insurance scheme.
The new law requires all stakeholders to respect, protect and promote the human rights of people living with HIV, key populations and vulnerable communities. The bill guarantees greater protection for confidentiality, removes barriers to HIV services, including restrictions to HIV testing for adolescents and young people, bans discrimination in health facilities, and prohibits bullying, including bullying in social media and other online portals.
Within its provisions, the new ruling also expands access to HIV treatment and prevention services by ensuring free and accessible antiretroviral treatment and a range of evidence-based prevention tools and programming for key populations.
With a 174% increase in new infections since 2010, the Philippines has become the country with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific. More than 90% of new HIV infections are occurring among men who have sex with men ([LQ1] MSM) and transgender people. Condom use among MSM and transgender people is low at 50% and 37% respectively and HIV testing is also low. Only 16% of MSM knew their HIV status in 2015.
In June 2016, Member States of the United Nations committed in the Political Declaration on Ending AIDS to “promoting laws and policies that ensure the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for children, adolescents and young people, particularly those living with, at risk of and affected by HIV, so as to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that they face.”
UNAIDS urges all governments to fully protect the human rights of people living and affected by HIV, including by providing strong legal protection and implementing programmes to end discrimination and advance access to justice.
UNAIDS Philippines | Dr. Louie Ocampo | tel. +632 902 2578 | firstname.lastname@example.org
UNAIDS Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific | Michela Polesana | tel. +66 9445194092 | email@example.com
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.