Around 60% of HIV-positive Singaporeans affected by data leak 'successfully reached': MOH

·Editorial Team
A red ribbon is seen on the jacket’s lapel of Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation ambassador Quinn Tivey as he attends the opening news conference at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), the largest HIV/AIDS-focused meeting in the world, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 23 July, 2018. (PHOTO: Reuters)
A red ribbon is seen on the jacket’s lapel of Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation ambassador Quinn Tivey as he attends the opening news conference at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), the largest HIV/AIDS-focused meeting in the world, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 23 July, 2018. (PHOTO: Reuters)

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has reached out to about 60 per cent of 3,500 HIV-positive Singaporeans who are affected by the data leak as of Wednesday (30 January) afternoon.

In response to media queries, the ministry said that it had “successfully reached” out to 2,180 of them as of 1pm, Wednesday.

Of the 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, from 1985 to January 2013 listed in the leaked data, 1,900 of them have passed away.

It is unclear whether the MOH is in the process of reaching out to the remaining 1,320 HIV-positive Singaporeans who are alive.

The ministry had on Monday announced that the confidential data of 14,200 HIV-positive individuals and 2,400 others had been leaked online by 34-year-old American fraudster Mikhy K Farrera Brochez.

The data included their names, identification numbers, contact details, HIV test results, and related medical information.

Apart from the 5,400 Singaporeans among the 14,200 HIV-positive individuals, the rest consisted of 8,800 foreigners – including work and visit pass applicants and holders – diagnosed with the disease up to December 2011.

The details of 2,400 people identified through contact tracing up to May 2007 were also included.

Brochez was sentenced to 28 months’ jail in 2017 for fraud and drug-related crimes. He was deported after serving sentence.

The conman was a partner of Ler Teck Siang, 37, who was the Head of MOH’s National Public Health Unit (NPHU) from March 2012 to May 2013 with access to the HIV Registry.

The male Singaporean doctor resigned from the MOH in January 2014.

Ler was sentenced to two years’ jail last year for abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the police and the health ministry.

His appeal against conviction and sentence is expected to be heard in March. The prosecution is also appealing for a higher sentence.

Ler has also been charged under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients. His case under the OSA is pending.

Related stories:

Singapore’s HIV data leak: A recap of what we know so far

Singapore’s HIV data leak: 5 burning questions to ask MOH and others

Action for AIDS: ‘Deeply troubled’ by HIV data leak, potential damage to lives of affected persons

HIV data leak: MOH has plenty of explaining to do

COMMENT: HIV data leak – What is your excuse now, MOH?

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