Jail for man with HIV who donated blood and lied, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Jail for man with HIV who donated blood and lied

A man who donated blood at a Health Sciences Authority (HSA) blood donation drive lied that he never had sex with another man.

His blood test results later returned positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

On March 21, the 39-year-old Filipino man pleaded guilty to one charge of providing false information in relation to donating blood under the Infectious Diseases Act. He was sentenced to three months’ jail.

Ministry of Health (MOH) prosecutor Tan Jun Ya said that on Jan 12, 2018, the man went to a church along Alexandra Road to donate blood. It was his 11th time donating blood.

Before the donation, he was required to complete a donor health assessment questionnaire and declaration form.

One of the questions on the form asked if he had ever engaged in sexual activity with another male. Another question was if, in the last 12 months, he had engaged in sexual activity with anyone he has known for less than six months.

The man answered no to both questions and declared that all his answers were true, said the MOH prosecutor.

He was also told that there was a 24-hour hotline which he could call on a confidential basis if he felt his blood should not be given to any patient, but he did not call the hotline.

The man donated blood, and it later tested positive for HIV.

On Jan 25, 2018, when he was interviewed by a doctor from the HSA Blood Services Group, he maintained that he “did not have any risk factors as he never had a sexual intercourse partner”.

On Feb 20, he was interviewed again by a public health officer from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

The MOH prosecutor said it was then that the man admitted that he was “forced” to engage in oral sex with a male masseur in Johor Bahru in November 2017.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy said while he is cognizant that his client’s conduct could have resulted in serious harm to public health and safety, there was no evidence of such harm materialising.

Mr Ganapathy said his client was working in Singapore at the time and learnt that there was a shortfall of blood supply at blood banks and wanted to help.

“Our client’s motivation in donating blood is simply that he wished to play his part in society. This was done purely out of his own goodwill to contribute and give back,” said the lawyer.

Blood donors who are found to have provided false or misleading information in relation to donating blood can be jailed for up to two years, fined up to $20,000, or both.

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