Fury at HIV data leak in conservative Singapore


The virus is usually transmitted through sex or sharing of needles and cannot be spread via casual contact, such as shaking hands or hugging. Foreigners with HIV were for many years not allowed to set foot in Singapore at all.

In 2015, authorities lifted the ban on foreigners with the virus making short visits but those seeking to work in Singapore must still pass a test. The affluent city-state of 5.6 million people is home to many overseas workers, from wealthy bankers to labourers at construction sites.

The leak, which involved the data of 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners, has caused widespread consternation. Sumita Banerjee, executive director of NGO Action for AIDS (AFA), said people with the virus had been calling up her group in tears.

“One of the main concerns is that employers, friends and family who were not aware might react badly,” she told AFP, adding some were afraid of losing their jobs.

But according to guidelines from health authorities, there are generally no valid grounds for terminating the services of an HIV-positive employee simply due to their condition.

Singapore authorities say they have rushed to block access to the information that was dumped online, allegedly by Mikhy Farrera Brochez, although they have warned he still has it and could release it again.

Since the leak, local media has reported Brochez was arrested in the United States for allegedly trespassing in his mother’s home, although the case appears unconnected to the data breach.

Speaking to the Straits Times, he protested his innocence and described reports about him as “terribly nasty and inaccurate“. HIV-positive psychologist Brochez first arrived in the city-state in 2008 and used blood samples from his boyfriend, doctor Ler Teck Siang, to pass an HIV test and get a work permit.

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Source link : https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/world/2019-02-10-fury-at-hiv-data-leak-in-conservative-singapore/

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Publish date : 2019-02-10 14:49:00

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