HIV-positive man who donated blood during circuit breaker given stern warning

Blood donor at donation. (Photo: Getty Images)
Blood donor at donation. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 37-year-old blood donor who was charged at the State Courts with lying about his sexual history to the blood bank was on Friday (12 March) granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal.

The man, whose blood was later found to be HIV-positive and discarded, was given a stern warning by the health ministry.

Last Wednesday, the man appeared before a district judge without a lawyer after indicating that he would enter a guilty plea. He cannot be named as the Infectious Diseases Act protects the identity of HIV-positive persons.

A health ministry prosecutor told the court then that the man donated his blood on 3 May last year during the circuit breaker period.

In the donor health assessment form which he filled, he indicated that he never had sex with another man, the court heard.

However, the prosecutor said the man had unprotected oral sex with an unknown man in 2017. The information emerged after his blood tested positive for HIV and he was contacted shortly after.

The prosecutor urged the court to impose a three-month jail term.

In his mitigation plea, the man said he did not intend any harm and wanted to help others as the blood bank was low on blood supply.

The man, who cried in court, also said he did not knowingly furnish false information, as he did not know that oral sex was considered as sex.

The judge rejected the guilty plea as the charge was for knowingly furnishing false information, and the man had qualified his plea in his mitigation.

After the court mention, lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy approached the man to take on the case and wrote to the health ministry's prosecutors on his behalf.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, the maximum punishment for blood donors who give false or misleading information is a fine of up to $20,000 and/or up to two years' jail.

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