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Amid data breach, Singapore politician speaks out for people living with HIV

Amid data breach, Singapore politician speaks out for people living with HIV

The speaker of Singapore’s parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin (Photo: Facebook)

The speaker of Singapore’s parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin, expressed support to people living with HIV in an impassioned Facebook post.

People living with HIV in Singapore have been left traumatized after the health ministry revealed on Monday their personal data had been leaked.

Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV is widespread in Singapore.

Many keep their status secret.

He said people living with HIV were fearful and traumatized because they feared the public’s response. ‘Our response’, he reminded users.

What’s more, he urged Singaporeans to be empathetic and not participate in ‘hate’.

‘Make a stand’ he said. ‘It is not acceptable’.

He also reminded the public that HIV is less contagious than the common cold. ‘let’s stay calm and support our fellow Singaporeans’ he wrote.

Tan is Singapore’s 10th Speaker of the Parliament and a member of the ruling People’s Action Party. Prior to entering politics in 2011, he was in the Singapore Army.

Data breach

The Ministry of Health in Singapore this weekend began calling people living with HIV. The ministry told them that someone had leaked their medical records online.

A US man deported from Singapore has possession of personal information of 14,200 people living with HIV.

He published the details online earlier this month. Singaporean authorities were later alerted and then had it removed.

The leaked data included names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results, and medical information.

A large proportion of HIV transmissions are between men who have sex with men. In conservative Singapore, gay sex is punishable by up to two years in prison under the city state’s colonial-era penal code.

What’s more, the majority of the population support the draconian law.

Tan on Tuesday also said ‘whether you are for or against LGBT is irrelevant’.

‘Heterosexuals do contract HIV too. So please don’t drag these issues into the fray’ he wrote.

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