Man jailed and fined for lying in blood donation questionnaire

The donor falsely declared that he had not engaged in sexual activity with another male in the Donor Health Assessment questionnaire.
The donor falsely declared that he had not engaged in sexual activity with another male in the Donor Health Assessment questionnaire.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A blood donor who supplied false information about not having had sex with another male was jailed for three months and fined $10,000 or one month's jail in default on Monday (Dec 7).

The 27-year-old Malaysian casino worker had admitted to making the false declaration when he donated blood at the Bloodbank@HSA, Outram Road, on Nov 7 last year.

He cannot be named due to a gag order.

The court heard that about 1-and-a-half months after he had donated blood, the Ministry of Health received a complaint stating that the Health Sciences Authority's Blood Services Group had informed Communicable Diseases Division that the blood donated by the defendant had been tested and confirmed to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Aids.

Investigation showed that the defendant was in a sexual relationship with one of his male acquaintances from Secondary 2 to 4. After coming to Singapore to work in 2008, he met a man called Leon in 2009 and carried on a sexual relationship with him for about two to three weeks.

On Nov 7 last year, he went to Bloodbank at Outram Road with his sister and a colleague to donate blood.

While filling up the Donor Health Assessment questionnaire, he answered "No'' to the question if he ever engaged in sexual activity with another male. This was false as he had previously engaged in sexual activity with other men.

His lawyer, Mr C.S. Lee, said his client had no ulterior motive when he answered the question which, unfortunately, he did not pay much attention to.

Five years had lapsed since his last act of sexual intercourse with another male, he said.

"He is truly regretful and remorseful. He has and continues to be punished that he has this incurable disease and embarked on treatment to control it,'' he said.

He also said his client went into depression on learning that he has HIV.

Health Ministry prosecutor Andre Moses Tan said this was a serious offence. He said if people acted in an irresponsible manner like the defendant, Singapore's national blood bank resources would be at risk.

He also said there is a 24-hour call-back hotline where a donor can tell the HSA not to use the blood donated. The HSA will then dispose of the blood sample with no questions asked.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong said he sympathised the defendant's personal circumstances, but as pointed out by the prosecutor, he said public interest must override someone's circumstances. A strong signal has to be sent to people donating blood to make sure they are fit and answer the questions truthfully.

The maximum punishment is two years' jail and a $20,000 fine.