The Singapore Ministry Of Health released a statement that the medical records, contact details and addresses of over 14,200 people who were diagnosed with HIV were leaked online. These included the details of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed up to 2013 and 8,800 foreign people diagnosed up to 2011 which had been kept on the HIV Registry.
The Ministry reported that the medical records were leaked by Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, a US citizen who had earlier been deported from the country. Farrera-Brochez, a one time employee, had previously served a 28 month prison sentence for fraud and drug offences – this included faking his own medical records by using a sample of his boyfriend’s blood instead of his own in order to gain an employment permit.
It is claimed that Farrera-Brochez accessed the medical records through his boyfriend, Ler Teck Siang, a local doctor. Teck Siang has now been charged under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take proper care of the data.
Chan Heng Kee of the Ministry of Health told journalists that while they were able to block online access to the leak, they have not been able to get the data back from Farrera-Brochez since his deportation. He said, “We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident. Our priority is the well-being of the affected individuals.” He continued, “He is still in possession of the information [and] it is possible that it could still be publicly disclosed.”
Heng Kee said the Ministry had decided to go public in an effort to have those concerned contact them as it was proving difficult to get in touch with each person directly. Of those affected, 900 of them have already been contacted and were reported to be distressed and concerned. A number of those affected had since passed away, while the amount of people affected who were not Singapore residents has made contacting them even harder. He continued, “We recognise that even with our best efforts, there are a lot of individuals who we will not be able to contact.”
If you have been affected by this story or would like more information on HIV matters, please contact HIV Ireland or ACT UP.
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