Washington International Law Journal


In 1998, the Philippine legislature passed pioneering HIV/AIDS legislation in Southeast Asia called the AIDS Prevention and Control Act (“APCA” or “Act”). This comprehensive legislation sought, in part, to ensure access to health care information and to stop the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS. Regulations were promulgated by the Philippine National AIDS Council in 1999 to implement the Act. APCA effectively addresses several important HIV/AIDS issues, including prohibiting discrimination and mandatory HIV testing, while ensuring access to basic health care. However, both the regulations and the Act fail to ensure that all scientifically accurate information regarding HIV/AIDS prevention reaches Filipinos. Specifically, the Act and its regulations provide vague guidance on what information may be disseminated lawfully and place restrictions on when and how information can be shared. Additionally, both impose harsh sanctions on health care providers and professionals who supply “misleading information.” However, it is unclear what exactly constitutes “misleading information” within APCA and its accompanying regulations. For this reason, health care providers may avoid discussing HIV/AIDS prevention measures and contraceptives with patients. This lack of information about HIV/AIDS leaves many Filipinos unaware of and vulnerable to the devastation of HIV/AIDS.

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