Singapore

Last updated on: 6 February 2014

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Singapore
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Yes
Number of people prosecuted: 
4
Number of people convicted: 
3
Applicable law: 

Infectious Diseases Act 1977, Chapter 137.

Penal Code 1955, Chapter 244

Key wording in the law: 

Infectious Diseases Act 1977

Section 23 Sexual activity by person with AIDS or HIV Infection. —

(1) A person who knows that he has AIDS or HIV Infection shall not engage in any sexual activity with another person unless, before the sexual activity takes place —

(a) he has informed that other person of the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV Infection from him; and

(b) that other person has voluntarily agreed to accept that risk.

(2) A person who does not know that he has AIDS or HIV Infection, but who has reason to believe that he has, or has been exposed to a significant risk of contracting, AIDS or HIV Infection shall not engage in any sexual activity with another person unless —

(a) before the sexual activity takes place he informs that other person of the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV Infection from him and that other person voluntarily agrees to accept that risk;

(b) he has undergone the necessary serological or other test and has ascertained that he does not have AIDS

(c) during the sexual activity, he takes reasonable precautions to ensure that he does not expose that other person to the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV Infection.

(3) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.

(4) For the purposes of this section, a person shall not, only by reason of age, be presumed incapable of engaging in sexual activity.

(5) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to know that he has AIDS or HIV Infection if a serological test or other test for the purpose of ascertaining the presence of HIV Infection carried out on him has given a positive result and the result has been communicated to him.

(6) No prosecution shall be instituted for an offence under subsection (2) except with the written consent of the Public Prosecutor, but a person charged with such an offence may be arrested and be remanded in custody or released on bail notwithstanding that the consent of the Public Prosecutor to the institution of a prosecution for the offence has not been obtained, except that the case shall not be further prosecuted until that consent of the Attorney-General has been obtained.

(7) In this section, “sexual activity” means —

(a) sexual activity occasioned by the introduction into the vagina, anus or mouth of any person of any part of the penis of another person; or

(b) cunnilingus.

Penal Code 1955

Section 269 Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life- Any individual who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, or which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of up to a year and/or a fine.

Section  270 Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life- Whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be liable to imprisonment with a maximum of four years and/or a fine.

Key Cases: 

In 2008, in the first case of its kind, a 43-year-old HIV man was jailed for 12 months on Monday for having sex with a boy without telling him of the risk of contracting the infection and getting him to agree to accept that risk. See attached media report.

 

Two men with HIV jailed for non-disclosure to same man at different times, 6 February 2012. A 27 year-old former civil engineer and a 48 year-old married man who had casual sex at different times with a 37 year-old man (who subsequently tested HIV-positive) have each been sentenced to 18 months in prison because they did not disclose they were HIV-positive. Source: http://www.hivjustice.net/case/singapore-two-men-with-hiv-jailed-for-non-disclosure-to-same-man-at-different-times/#sthash.PrjbOtkN.dpuf

 

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Action for Aids

Further reading: 

Implications of the amandments to the Infectious Diseases Act recently passed in Parliament

Action for AIDS's Feedback on Proposed Amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act 2007

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

No HIV testing requirement for tourist or business visa applicants up to 30 days. In principle, entry is denied to HIV-positive people and foreigners diagnosed with AIDS.

There are restrictions for people with HIV/AIDS for stays beyond 30 days and the following visa types:

  • Social Visit Pass
  • Employment Pass
  • Long Term Immigration Pass
  • Permanent Residence

A medical examination, including TB and HIV testing is required in these situations. Test certificates have to be presented on entry (“blood analysis for HIV serology”, performed by a physician registered in Singapore). Foreign certificates performed by clinics licensed for performing such tests are accepted.

There are no health checks at the border. Only obviously sick people are checked with more rigour.

HIV-positive spouses of Singaporean citizens are allowed to stay in the country.

Entering with antiretroviral medication for personal use: Prior approval by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is required, e-mail: hsa_info@hsa.gov.sg. In practice, such a permit will only be granted to HIV-positive spouses of Singaporean citizens. A declaration is not required at customs, however, the HSA permit needs to be presented in case of a routine check.

HIV-positive foreigners, including persons diagnosed with AIDS are immediately deported.

Prohibited immigrants:

  • (1) Any person, not being a citizen of Singapore, who is a member of any of the prohibited classes as defined in subsection (3) or who, in the opinion of the Controller, is a member of any of the prohibited classes, is a prohibited immigrant.
    • (3) The following persons are members of the prohibited classes:
      1. any person who is unable to show that he has the means of supporting himself and his dependants (if any) or that he has definite employment awaiting him, or who is likely to become a pauper or a charge on the public;
      2. any person suffering from mental disorder or being a mental defective, or suffering from a contagious or infectious disease which makes his presence in Singapore dangerous to the community;
      3. any person suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus;

As of the year 2000, HIV-positive foreign spouses of Singaporeans are allowed to remain in Singapore and are therefore the exception to immigration laws pertaining to HIV status of foreigners.

Proof of yellow fever immunisation is required for those arriving from infected areas. If you arrive from an infected area and do not have a yellow fever vaccination certificate, you may be denied entry.

"I was sick in Singapore while on business, and had to be hospitalised there due to reactive arthritis. The doctor did some blood tests on me and reported the result straight away to the authorities. When I got back there again on business two months later, I wasn't allowed entry and deported back straight away on the first flight. The immigration officer wouldn't tell me why, then one of them told me finally discreetly that it was because of my health status.
As I am not allowed to enter Singapore again, I was put off duty by the company I work for and then had to be transferred to another department, losing half of my income. Singapore doctors are required to report anyone found to be HIV-positive to the authorities."

For updated information, please go to: www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of less than 10 years

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org

Laws relating to injecting drug use: 

Yes

Protective laws and policies for people living with HIV: 

No