Leaked HIV data creates fear among Singaporean LGBT community

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01/29/2019

A major leak of the confidential data of 14,200 people with HIV in Singapore could hamper a fight against new infections among LGBT+ people in the city-state, campaigners said on Tuesday. The health ministry said on Monday that an American, who lived in the country previously, disclosed online the details of 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners who were diagnosed with HIV in Singapore. About half of the 434 new HIV cases reported in 2017 were transmitted through same-sex intercourse, official data shows. Gay sex remains a crime in Singapore under British colonial-era law. LGBT+ groups have set up support services following the breach, but campaigners said it would discourage LGBT+ people living with HIV from seeking help, fearing that their details will be compromised. “The first hurdle for them to get tested or to approach social services is the issue of coming out. A lot of them are extremely afraid to be out,” said Jean Chong, founder of Singapore-based LGBT+ rights group Sayoni.

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