Singapore: A 48-year-old man was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment on Tuesday (June 7) for failing to inform his sexual partner that he was HIV positive.
Due to the Gag Order, it is not possible to appoint a criminal. He was a public relations consultant at the time of the crime and the victim was in his twenties.
The man was diagnosed with HIV in July 2017 and was interviewed by a staff member of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. He said he needed to inform his sexual partner of his condition, regardless of viral load or awareness of the risk to others.
He pleaded guilty to one crime under the Infectious Diseases Control Act last week. Another accusation of the same crime against another victim was considered for the judgment.
On April 23, 2021, the man provided the victim with a car to return home from his reserved private car job. During the trip, both men decided to go to the criminal’s house instead.
They engaged in unprotected sex in the victim’s room after the first resistance from the victim.
Prior to this, criminals had not informed victims of the risk of being infected with HIV and had no voluntary agreement to accept the risk, said Andre Moses Tan, a prosecutor at the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The crime was discovered on September 30, 2021, and an unidentified informant reported to authorities that the victim had been sexually assaulted by the criminal.
At that time, the criminal was already investigating that he had sex with another man on October 10, 2019, without notifying him of the risk of getting HIV.
The man was charged with an earlier crime on October 14, 2021, which formed a taking into account.
Viral load “not detected”
A court document showed that a male HIV viral load test in January 2021 was “not detected”, and another test in July 2021 showed a “boundary” of less than 20 copies per milliliter. It was shown to be a “line”.
According to a memo from a doctor at a national university hospital quoted in a court document, there was no difference between the “borderline” and the “undetected” viral load.
“There was virtually no risk of HIV transmission from people with undetectable viral load to their sexual partners,” the doctor said.
There were no reports of viral load in men during the April 2021 crime.
However, apart from the July 2021 results, tests conducted every six months from November 2017 to January this year consistently tested his viral load as “not detected.” I did.
Therefore, his viral load was found to be likely to be “undetected” or “borderline” at the time of the crime, court documents said.
Prosecution and defense allegations
The prosecution said, “The risk of infection is low because the undetectable viral load of the accused means that the risk of infection is virtually zero,” and demanded two years’ imprisonment.
However, the criminal did not inform the victim that he was HIV-positive, putting two different victims at risk of HIV transmission and re-offending during the investigation, Tan said.
“We admit that the accused did not use condoms when sexually acting with the victim, but the fact that there was virtually no risk of infection mitigated this,” the prosecutor said.
Attorney Sunil Sudheesan sought a high fine without time in prison, claiming that his client was unable to infect HIV during the crime.
The lawyer added that the man was consuming alcohol, including a bottle of vodka, which clouded his judgment before the crime.
“Our client did not disclose the risk of infection to the victim just because he knew there was no risk of infection,” Sudheesan claimed.
“Fearing the stigma for HIV, our clients mistakenly omitted to disclose the risk of infection when it was zero.”
The man appealed against his decision. He could have been imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined up to S $ 50,000, or both.