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Review law requiring HIV-positive persons to disclose status to sexual partners

We refer to the TODAY report on Tuesday (June 7) about a HIV-positive man who was sentenced to 12 months’ jail for not disclosing that he had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to two sexual partners.

Review law requiring HIV-positive persons to disclose status to sexual partners

A volunteer lights candles forming the shape of a red ribbon during an awareness event on the eve of World Aids Day, in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Nov 30, 2020.

Roy Chan, Sumita Banerjee

We refer to the TODAY report on Tuesday (June 7) about a HIV-positive man who was sentenced to 12 months’ jail for not disclosing that he had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to two sexual partners.

The article mentions that the individual, who was diagnosed in 2017, had been on treatment and had an undetectable viral load during his six-monthly check-ups from November 2017 to January 2022.

Action for Aids Singapore (AfA) is disturbed by this case in light of current medical evidence on transmission of the virus.

We would like to highlight that it has been scientifically proven in several large clinical studies that people living with HIV who are optimally treated with anti-retroviral medications and have suppressed viral loads in their bloodstream cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners.

This has been confirmed and endorsed by the World Health Organization, international experts, and other scientific organisations.

It is therefore timely to review the law requiring notification of positive HIV status prior to sexual relations, where persons with HIV have been regular with follow-up consultations and faithful in their adherence to medications.

Persons living with HIV are still heavily stigmatised in society and the publicity which these cases bring make things worse for them.

It also undoes the work that AfA and other organisations have been doing to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination and reduces the effectiveness of the HIV control programme.

We therefore call upon the Ministry of Health to review the relevant parts of the Infectious Diseases Act.

Law reform is necessary to bring our legislation in concordance with current scientific evidence and biomedical advances.

ABOUT THE WRITERS:

Roy Chan and Sumita Banerjee are respectively president and executive director of Action for Aids Singapore.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

HIV HIV/AIDS Action for Aids

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