Philippines Boosts Health Care, Employment Rights of Individuals With HIV and AIDS

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The Philippines HIV and AIDS Policy Act, which aims to improve health care services and outlaws discrimination against job applicants and employees living with HIV or AIDS, takes effect 25 Jan 2019.  Violations can lead to criminal and financial penalties. 

Health Coverage

Features of the law affecting health coverage include the following:

  • The Philippine National AIDS Council will be re-established and charged with creating a national AIDS and HIV strategy, which will be updated every six years.
  • Mandates PhilHealth, the government-run health insurance organization, will develop a benefits package that provides in-patient and out-patient medical treatment and diagnostic care.
  • Individuals with HIV or AIDS cannot be "denied or deprived" of private health insurance provided by a health maintenance organization or refused life insurance coverage. 

Discriminatory HIV-Related Employment Practices

The law also prohibits employers from rejecting job applicants, terminating employment or applying any other discriminatory employment practices based on a person's actual, perceived or suspected HIV status. Acts of bullying based on an individual’s HIV or AIDS status, including on social media or other online portals, are also prohibited.

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