Five blood donors, who had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when donating blood last year, were charged in court on Wednesday..
According to Channel NewsAsia report, they were charged under the Infectious Diseases Act with making false declarations in the Donor Health Assessment Questionnaire.
Penalties include imprisonment for up to two years or a maximum fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars (about 11,764 US dollars) or both if they are found guilty.
The report added that the five people's blood was not used in any transfusion, which is one of the ways to transmit the deadly disease of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The Health Ministry was quoted as saying that it has been taking stringent measures to screen blood donors and test donated blood.
There are about 2,500 Singaporeans infected with HIV/AIDS
And yawning bread covers the issue and asks just who would be able to meet the rules laid down regarding donating blood.
Only nuns and monks need apply
One really feels sorry for the 5 guys who were named in the Straits Times and other media (see box on the right). Not only are they facing criminal charges, they have suffered the body blow of being diagnosed as HIV-positive, and their HIV status announced to everybody in Singapore.
How many of their employers will not find some excuse to lay them off, is not worth guessing.
The even sorrier thing is that Singaporeans need this kind of news before we have even the slightest hope of giving a little thought to the absurdities of our society that have created Catch-22 situations for these men. They are, in a sense, sacrificial lambs to our society's wilful blindness to reality.
Two of the 5 men, Ng Choon Siong and Wong Shimin, donated blood last year when they were still serving National Service (NS). As all of us who have gone through NS know, the military is probably the largest single source of blood for our national blood bank. Whole companies of men are "encouraged" to line up and donate blood when the blood transfusion service comes to camp.
Given the peer pressure and the commandant's "encouragement", it is extremely difficult for a closetted gay person to answer the question posed by the blood service, "Have you had sex with another man?" If you say Yes, your mates will wonder what's wrong with you that you are told to get out of the line. You might be effectively outed. Furthermore, it would also suggest that you had lied earlier at enlistment, when the same question would have been asked. After all, if you're in a combat unit, it indicates that you had answered "No" to the question "are you a homosexual?" then.