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HIV-positive man who donated blood during pandemic charged with lying about sexual history

He did not know oral sex is also considered sex

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Singapore – A 37-year-old man was charged for supplying false information when he went to donate blood. He indicated he had never had sex with another man, yet his blood sample came back HIV-positive.

The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his identity, came to court on Wednesday (Mar 3), intending to plead guilty to supplying false information under the Infectious Diseases Act.

The court heard that the man had gone to Bloodbank@HSA on May 3 last year to donate blood, reported channelnewsasia.com. Prior to the donation, he had to fill out a Donor Health Assessment Questionnaire, a legal document that needed to signed and acknowledged.

The man answered “no” to the question, “In your entire lifetime: Male Donors: Have you had sex with another man?” The court heard that the accused had overlooked the first page and the bit which defined “sex” as various penetrative acts, including oral sex. The first page also did not require signatures.

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After a doctor checked his answers, the man confirmed they were truthful. However, his blood was later tested, and it came back HIV-positive. When the doctor explained that oral sex was considered as sex, the man admitted he had unprotected oral sex with a man in 2017 while on a bus in India.

According to the report, the judge rejected the accused’s plea of guilt because the man did not know at that time that oral sex was considered sex. The man did not knowingly provide a false statement.

The judge directed the case to a pre-trial conference next week, at the earliest date possible. For the offence, the prosecution is requesting at least three months’ jail and a fine of S$10,000, although it noted that the man admitted to the wrongdoing when the doctor brought it up.

It was reported that the man, who is unrepresented, brought luggage with him when he appeared in court as he was ready to go jail.

The man told the judge that he can no longer work in Singapore and lost his job eight months ago. He had spent his savings and only had S$250 left for rent and food.

Now, he is an HIV patient and with no means for treatment as it is not subsidised for foreigners. “Once I came to know about this, I was so depressed (over) the severity of the disease,” said the man. He added he was the sole breadwinner for six dependants in his home country.

“I didn’t want to hurt anyone or release the spread of this disease or anything,” he said. “I wanted to, in fact, help the country during the pandemic, during the crisis. When I went, it was during Covid time, and the blood supply was very (little).”

The man is scheduled to return to court on March 12 for a pre-trial conference.

For supplying false information relating to a blood donation, the sentence could be up to two years’ jail, up to S$20,000 fine, or both./TISGFollow us on Social Media

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