This report is based on a three-week field mission to the Philippines in January 2004, as well as prior and subsequent research. Two Human Rights Watch staff interviewed thirty-five people living with or at high risk of HIV/AIDS, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, young adults, and overseas workers. Interviews took place throughout Metro Manila (including Manila City, Pasay City and Quezon City), as well as in Angeles City and Baguio City, each home to a significant sex industry. Most interviews were conducted in Tagalog with translation into English. All interviewees chose pseudonyms to protect their privacy.
Vulnerable populations such as sex workers and men who have sex with men were identified with the assistance of nongovernmental organizations specializing in HIV prevention and outreach. As such, most interviewees had at least some access to HIV prevention services and may have had greater knowledge of HIV/AIDS than those without comparable services. An even more restricted picture of access to condoms and HIV/AIDS information in the Philippines might have emerged out of a random population sample.
Human Rights Watch also interviewed approximately sixty representatives of government agencies, donor governments, nongovernmental organizations specializing in HIV/AIDS or reproductive health, and academic institutions. Some of these interviews, including with the Philippines Secretary of Health, were conducted by telephone from New York. Human Rights Watch requested in writing but was not granted interviews with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well representatives from the Philippines Department of Education, the Manila City health office, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and Caritas Manila.
Documentary materials for this report were gathered principally through internet sources and nongovernmental organizations based in the Philippines. All materials cited in this report are either publicly available or on file at Human Rights Watch.