A new HIV bill was recently passed by Congress and made into law. The law has several provisions which respond to urgent areas of concern.
The first is on minor’s rights for HIV testing. Minors (individuals under the age of 18) are now allowed to get tested for HIV without their parent or legal guardian’s consent or knowledge as long as it is voluntary. However, the allowance is only absolute for minors aged 15 and above. For those under 15 years old, only those pregnant or engaging in high-risk behavior would be given leeway.
Congress representatives have responded to concerns on this certain provision. Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo stated that due to the high rate of minors contracting HIV, it is necessary to afford them this protection. They also assure us that the new age limit only goes so far as testing—treatments and the like will still require parental consent for minors.
Other notable provisions include providing free anti-retroviral treatment and medication and mandating better education programs on HIV and AIDS. Interestingly, it implements penalties on non-consensual disclosure, which is the law applied in the United States. Fines will be imposed on individuals who do any of the following: disclose information that a person has undergone HIV-testing or has HIV/AIDS, announce online or in media that a certain person has HIV/AIDS, or discriminate against HIV-positive individuals.
What do you think about this new law? Let us know in the comments!