The HIV-positive status of 14,200 people, as well as their identification numbers and contact details, has been leaked online, authorities in Singapore said Monday.
Records leaked include 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed as HIV-positive before January 2013, and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed before December 2011, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement.
Patient names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results and medical information was included in the information leaked by a former Singaporean resident.
“We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident,” the statement said. “Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals. Since 26 January, we have been progressively contacting the individuals to notify them and render assistance.”
Leow Yangfa, a spokesman for LGBT charity Oogachaga, said the group was concerned people who have not disclosed their HIV status to employers, family or friends could face repercussions due to the leak.
“This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today,” Yangfa said. “Those of us who live without HIV cannot begin to imagine the shock, distress, pain and betrayal they must be going through right now.”
Sex between men is technically illegal in Singapore, and can be punished by up to two years in prison under a colonial-era statute, though the law is not consistently enforced.