Dr. Tan and Partners is one of the few approved Anonymous HIV Testing Centres in Singapore. A detailed write up on our service is available here.

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HIV Laws in Singapore – Disclosure and Immigration

Many people are still concerned about the laws in Singapore with regards to HIV.

Click here for info on How to visit Singapore if you are HIV +ve.

Laws pertaining to HIV are governed under The Infectious Diseases Act (IDA) which has been amended multiple times since HIV was discovered.

The spirit of this law is really 2 pronged:

  1. To protect public health
  2. To protect the identify of people living with HIV

Yes, Number 2 is hard to believe especially in Singapore but it is true.

Let us look at this is more detail.

1.       To protect public health

Law: The IDA requires a person living with HIV to undergo counselling and comply with specified precautions and safety measures.

Comment: Honestly, this is really fair enough don’t you think? There are so many misconceptions and so much misunderstanding about HIV out there that people who are diagnosed with it really should understand the facts and myths.

Law: The IDA makes it an offence for a person living with HIV to have sexual intercourse without informing and obtaining consent from the partner.

Comment: Everyone has to agree that this is fair.

Law: The IDA requires that a person who has reason to believe that he/she has, or has been exposed to a significant risk of contracting HIV to take reasonable precautions to protect their sexual partner even is he/she is ignorant of their HIV positive status.

Comment: In other words, if a person engages a sex worker and unknowingly passes HIV to his/her partner, the law deems this an offence. Because the person should logically know that engaging a sex worker puts him/her at risk of HIV.  In short, ignorance is not an excuse.

Law: The IDA makes it an offence to donate blood or to do any act which can spread AIDS or HIV to another person.

Comment: Before you donate blood in Singapore you have to fill up a questionnaire. It is an offence under the law to lie in this questionnaire. So even if a person is ignorant of his/her status, forgets to mention a possible exposure in the questionnaire and later on screening his/her donated blood is found to be positive, it is an offence and the person can be charged. Scary huh?

Law: The IDA allows the Director of Medical Services (DMS) to disclose information regarding a person lving with HIV to any medical practitioner, medical staff or any person exposed to a risk of infection from AIDS and HIV.

Comment: This is really to protect medical staff who put themselves at risk in caring for the patients. So the DMS can disclose this information to the relevant parties without the consent of the patient.

2.       To protect the identify of people living with HIV

Law: The IDA specifies the conditions that allow persons, receiving information regarding a person living with HIV in the course of their duties under the Act, to divulge such information.

Comment: In other words, anyone who knows of someone’s HIV positive status can only let someone else know under very specific conditions. Namely, if the person to be informed is at risk of HIV. So if a counsellor knows of patient A’s HIV status, he can tell patient A’s surgeon as the surgeon has a right to know to protect himself. In other words, divulging a person’s HIV positive status without a proper reason specified by the IDA is an offence.

Law: The IDA specifies the conditions that allow medical practitioners to divulge information regarding an infected person living with HIV to persons who are at risk of being infected by the patient.

Comment: So even if a doctor knows a person has HIV, he/she cannot go around telling everyone. He/She however is allowed to let people whom are deemed at risk to know. E.g. spouses, sexual partners, fellow doctors taking care of the patient etc. Telling anyone else is an offence.

Law: The IDA prohibits the recipient of information regarding a person living with HIV to disclose such information unless with the approval of the Director of Medical Services.

Comment: In other words anyone who knows of a person’s HIV status cannot go around babbling it to everyone.

Disclosure laws and Anonymous Testing Centres

Law: The IDA requires every medical practitioner who has reason to believe or suspect that any person attended or treated by him is suffering from an infectious disease or is a carrier of that disease shall notify the Director within the prescribed time and in such form or manner as the Director may require.

Comment: All doctors and lab staff are required to inform the Ministry of a person’s HIV positive status within 72 hours of diagnosis. This is why Anonymous Testing Clinics like ours are so special. There is a filed gazette in the Supreme Court of Singapore that excuses us from this clause of the IDA. So when we say that our testing is anonymous, we really mean that it is anonymous. It is legally air-tight.

Immigration law

(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;

Comment: There is no need for HIV testing for person coming into Singapore on a social visit pass and can stay up to 30 days.

Any person applying for a work pass, long term visit pass, employment pass or permanent residence is required to undergo HIV testing.

Any person who is found to be HIV positive will be deported immediately. (In practice they are given 2 weeks which kinda equates to immediately).

Once a person is known HIV positive and captured in the immigration’s database, they will be denied entry into Singapore except for medical treatment. In such a case, he/she will have to fill a prescribed form signed and endorsed by his doctor in Singapore, seek approval from Immigration Authorities and will be allowed to stay no more than 3 days.

How to get into Singapore to see a Doctor if you are HIV +ve

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection (Non-AIDS) are classified as contagious diseases under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 137). Foreigners suffering from AIDS or infected with HIV are ineligible for the issue of a Visit Pass. If they wish to visit Singapore, they may seek prior approval through ICA before their intended travel. An appeal for entry may be submitted through a local sponsor at the Visitor Services Centre, 4th Storey, ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road, Singapore 208718 for ICA’s consideration. The local sponsor may also mail the duly completed application forms, along with the relevant supporting documents (e.g. Doctor’s letter about medical condition, purpose of visiting Singapore etc), addressed to: Director Visitor Services Centre Appeals Unit ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road #08-00 Singapore 208718 The following documents are required for the application: a) Application Form 14 & V39I (duly completed & signed); (Available for download at http://www.ica.gov.sg/e_services_overview.aspx?pageid=290 ) b) Photocopies of applicant’s passport pages showing the bio date page and signature of the passport holder; c) Local sponsor’s Singapore Identity Card (I/C); and d) Notice of refusal, if any. Note: Local sponsor can be an individual Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident (SC/PR) aged 21 and above or a Singapore-registered company. Please state clearly the reason(s) or purpose for the applicant’s entry and intended duration of visit on Application Form 14. The applicant may also include any other supporting documents that he/she deems relevant to substantiate his/her application. Thereafter, his/her local sponsor will be notified by post on the outcome.

OK so that’s it. I don’t know if this makes you more or less worried but facts are facts.

To end off, I would like to share with you an article on AsiaOne. Such a sad story.

 

advise


Need more advice?

Come down to Our Clinics for a discussion with Our Doctors, or call our clinics for more information:

1.) Robertson Walk  (+65 6238 7810)

2.) Bencoolen Street (+65 6884 4119)

3.) Novena Medical Centre (+65 6397 2095)

4.) Scotts Medical Centre (+65 6694 2348)

5.) Somerset – Orchard Building (+65 6262 0762)

6.) Katong – East Coast Road (+65 6635 2551)

Where to find us – here

Selected clinics are open on Saturday and Sunday.

Doctor’s Schedule here

Email: doctor@drtanandpartners.com

All Our Doctors are Fully Certified and Trained to conduct specialised HIV Testing.

For lady patients who prefer female doctors, we have professional certified female Doctors to attend to your medical needs.


If you had a high risk exposure to HIV within the past 72 hours, you can take medicines to reduce your risk of actually contracting HIV. Find out more on HIV PEP Treatment.

HIV Prevention within 72 hours of exposure (PEP) – Click Here
Click Here for Contact Details, Address and Opening Times.

We are Open on Weekends.

Our Andrology and Infection Centre at Novena Medical Center is open.

Call us at 63972095 now to book your appointment.

 

About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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210 Comments

  1. Hello dr tan,
    I would like to ask. If my non citiZen spouse is tested hiv + , can i still apply long term for her? She does not need to work in singapore as i am fully capable to take care of her. Just want her to be by my side

    • You are basically asking if a HIV +ve person can qualify for a long term dependent visa in Singapore. That is interesting. I have not come across such a case. It is best that you direct your question to the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

  2. Megan Douglas

    I am an HR Manager who has recently started working in Singapore. I wanted to know an employers obligations if an employee discloses that they are HIV+. Do we have to disclose this to the authorities and if so which ones?

    • Hi Megan. To start off, I would like to point out that we are a medical clinic and not in a position to give such advice. I would suggest you check with your legal department or with the Ministry of Manpower. As far as I know, the Infectious Diseases Act has a section that protects the identity of HIV +ve individuals. It spells out in detail the situations under which a person has the right or obligation to disclose another person’s HIV status. You would notice one of these situations involves the Immigration Act. And that states that HIV +ve foreigners are not allowed to hold an employment pass in Singapore. So it gets complicated. You can read the Infectious Diseases Act HERE.

  3. Hi doc,

    Just asking, im holding epass/spass. what if i go anonymous testing, are you going to notify mom if my result is positive but i will seek treatment outside singapore?

    • If we have to notify MOM then what is the point of calling the test anonymous? The point of anonymous testing is so that we do not inform any of the ministries or anyone for that matter.

  4. Hi dr
    I am hiv + can I get married with singaporean hiv+ girl ?

  5. Hi Doctor,
    If a employment pass holder is diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia, will he be able to continue his employment in sg? Will it be report to MOH or MOM?

    • Yes, he can. The disease will be reported to MOH for statistics documentation purpose.
      If you want to be sure, please direct this question to MOM or ICA.

  6. hello sir
    If some one suffering oral herps does he work in singapore.

  7. Dr. Tan,

    Good day!

    I am being offered a global role based in our company’s Singapore office starting January 2017. However, I am HIV+.

    Should I just decline the offer right now as my initial research shows Singapore is strict about not providing work visas to people living with HIV? Needless to say, our company has a good policy on HIV+ employees so this was never an issue until now that I am considered for the role.

    Thanks!

    M

  8. If I am tested HIV positive through anonymous testing and I would like to undertake treatment, does it mean that my details will be recorded in the Ministry and my wife will be notified? If so, there is no difference whether the testing is anynomous or not once as I wish to seek treatment, isn’t it?

    • Testing can be anonymous but treatment cannot be. Once you decide to be treated in Singapore, your treating Doctor will have to inform MOH. MOH will then conduct contact tracing and spouses will invariably be informed to go for testing. Most patients who wish to remain anonymous seek treatment outside of Singapore.

  9. Worried

    Hi Dr.
    I m not sure if i have been infected HIV by this person. But 1 week after having intercouse with him i have sore thoart n fever. He used to have had many guirls before btw. Pls advise.

    • Worried

      Hi dr.
      I went to see doc n he say I had actully is tonsil n high fever. Would it link to HIV infection?

    • Let’s look at a few facts. Your partner had many previous partners. You had sex with this person. So of course there is a chance you have been infected with HIV. Sore throat and fever are not symptoms of a HIV infection. However, these symptoms do not come on at 1 week post exposure. That is too early.

  10. Desmond Chia

    If Singapore PR infected to HIV , does he allowed to renew his PR ?

    • As far as I know, HIV +ve people are not allowed to be a Singapore PR. However, you should verify this with the appropriate authorities like ICA. We are a medical clinic sharing information. We cannot give you advice or replies on immigration matters.

  11. Hi Doctor,

    If foreign worker is tested positive for gonorrhea/ chlamydia, will the result be reported to MOM? or will it only be reported to MOH?

    • drtan

      The only workers that MOM mandate Gonorrhea and Chlamydia testing for are Sex Workers and Masseuse. For everyone else, they honestly cannot be bothered.

  12. when i was in singapore i was tested Syphillis reactive 1:1, i went back to my countrt, after a month i went back to singapore but the immigration hold me from entering because of my cancelled working permit, after 7mos if im already negative can i be still allowed to go in singapore?

    • As far as we know, you are allowed to enter as long as you have a letter from the doctor stating that you have been treated. However, please direct this question to MOM/ICA for details.

  13. Adrian

    Hi doctor,

    I was diagnosed with Pneumocystis Pneumonia few years back but has since recovered and I am on antiviral medication. I need to do a pre-employment check up for my new job which consist of chest X-ray and urine test. Will my Chest X-ray show any signs of scarring and will i fail my medical clearance as a result?

    • drtan

      Pneumocystis Pnuemonia can cause scarring of the lung. Whether or not you will pass or fail your pre-employment medical exam is not something we can answer.

  14. Hi Doctor Tan,
    I just want to check i read about the comment that actaully if you contacted with an hiv person they can check it already within 3 months only? I thought the Virus will be detected only after 7 or 10 years after you have intercourse with an HIV person?

    • drtan

      There are several different tests that can be done at different times after a person is infected to check for HIV. This is called the HIV testing window period.
      Window period Test
      10 days RNA PCR
      28 days Duo/Combo
      3 months Antibody

      You can click HERE for an article on it.

  15. Tangawa

    Hi, doctor. I have a question. If I have sex with a person whos not tested HIV positive. But 6months later his Hiv tested is HIV positive. And mine is negative, will i still have a chance infected by this person already but the test result couldnt tested it?

    • drtan

      The accuracy of your HIV test depends on when you got tested after your exposure to this person and what test you did. If you have a regular antibody test (which is the test most commonly done), then you have to wait till 3 months after the exposure for the test to be 100% accurate.

  16. Stanley

    I am study in Singapore and I get HIV from a local girl that we had one night stand.
    I am a foreigner and can I have HIV treatment in singapore?

    • drtan

      Yes you can get treatment in Singapore. I see and treat many foreign patients in my clinic. You are free to visit Singapore for treatment anytime and stay as long as you are allowed to on a tourist visa. Your student pass will be cancelled. You also will not be able to get a work or employment pass in Singapore.

  17. Hi Doctor

    Do you all sell PreP (not Pep) Would like to also get more info and costs for it.

    Thanks yeah

  18. If I find out that I have contracted the HIV from a local Singaporean woman, a citizen who never disclosed it and I know for sure She was the only person I could have gotten the disease from. What action can I take to stop her from infecting others? I know she is currently seeing other men while also being married here. If it is verified what would be the proper way to handle this? She is no doubt Narcissistic and perhaps wants to destroy all men at this vengeful level. Who to contact Police, lawyer, MOM, health agency? I am a foreign worker here on contract. I will be checked for verification if I have this type of STD but I would like to know and you could also help others who could be in this same type of predicament.

    • I am sorry to hear what happened to you. You need to be very careful about this because it is criminal to wrongfully accuse someone of intentionally infecting you with HIV. It is also criminal to tell people of someone’s HIV status unless they have a need to know. That said, it is definitely criminal NOT to tell someone you are infected (or potentially infected) with HIV before having sexual intercourse with them.

      Your course of action should be:
      1. Verify that you are really infected with HIV. Since you are a foreign worker, you may want to go to an Anonymous HIV testing center. Our clinic at Robertson Walk is one such anonymous HIV testing center.
      2. If you are truly infected with HIV, you can contact the Ministry of Health who will conduct contact tracing for you. You can provide them with the names of all the people you may have caught HIV from or could have passed HIV to. Bear in mind that this will mean your Work/Employment pass will be cancelled.
      3. You can also approach the Police if you have good reason to believe you were infected by her and she was aware of her HIV status and intentionally did not disclose this information to you.

  19. Concerned

    Hi Dr Tan,

    I know someone who is infected with HIV but he is still going around the gay saunas in Singapore and even visiting those overseas.

    Is there anything I can do to stop this irresponsible act? To be fair, I do not know if he tells his potential sex partners about his HIV status or practices safe sex.

    Thank you.

    • Wow. That is an excellent question.

      Legally speaking, he is obliged to inform any potential sexual partners of his HIV status. However, the only way to enforce this is if one of his sexual partners make a police report against him for either infecting him with HIV or not informing him of his status. We know this is very unlikely to happen.

      Also legally speaking, you can inform any of his potential sexual partners but this is very dicey. Because he can then sue you for unnecessarily disclosing his HIV status. There is a law in Singapore that says you cannot go around telling anybody someone’s HIV status unless they have a need to know (eg his sexual partners, his doctor, his dentist etc)

      So honestly, there is really nothing much you can do except to try to talk some good sense into him.

  20. Dear Dr Tan,

    My friend needs to do a blood test which is part of the pre-employment health check up for a new MNC job. My friend is a Singaporean. I would appreciate it if you could advise him of the following questions. Thank you so much 🙂

    1) If he is tested HIV positive, will his new company terminate his employment? Is this legal for his company to terminate the employment because he is HIV positive? Will SG gov protect him from being terminated?

    2) If he is unemployed, he might not have the money to pay for his HIV treatment. Will SG gov help?

    Thank you so much 🙂

    • I think you have come to the wrong platform to have these questions answered. We are a medical clinic sharing information we know. We do not and cannot speak for employers of the Ministry of Manpower. So with that pre-amble, I will attempt to answer your questions the best I can.

      1. That really depends on the company. As far as I know, there is no explicit law in Singapore that says a company cannot terminate an employee for whatever reason. I am not a lawyer but I think if an individual feels that he has been terminated from his job for unfair reasons, he can always bring the matter up to MOM. MOM runs a Labour Court that listens to employee’s grievances.

      2. This problem is applicable to any medical condition and not just HIV. You are basically asking me what the Singapore government does for its citizens in terms of healthcare coverage. Well, there are many for example:
      – subsidized healthcare via the polyclinics and public hospitals
      – Community Health Assist Scheme
      – Medisave, MediShield, MediFund
      – The new MediShield Life
      – Pioneer Card
      Just to name a few

      • Dear Dr Tan,

        Thank you for your prompt and informative answer. 🙂

        I might have phase my question wrongly. Let me rephrase the question.

        If a Singaporean is tested HIV positive during his pre-employment health check, will the clinic inform his company of this Singaporean HIV positive result? Is it a common practice for clinic to inform employer of HIV positive case for pre-employment health check? I thought that this information is confidential.

        Than you very much 🙂

        Best Regards
        David Lee

  21. Hi Dr TAN, I’m a foreigner with holding a work permit. And I’m decided to do anonymous HIV test, after the anonymous test my result will be informed to MOH?

    • Of course not. That is frankly the point of doing the anonymous test. The results will not be disclosed to anyone. In fact, we do not even ask you for any of your personal information. For more information on the anonymous test, click HERE.

  22. Hi doc,

    If a exisiting work permit holder (not foreign domestic worker) is tested positive for syphillis? will her exisiting work permit be revoked or not be renewed? understand that syphilis can be cured. will MOM allow the work permit to continue as long as treatment is given?

  23. Singapore domestic worker has HIV .can continue to work or not

  24. Hi doctor,
    A year ago i had a syphilis reactive and got a treatment here the same year,can i still comeback and work here as i am a foreign workers,thanks

    • I do not know. That is something you need to ask the Ministry of Manpower. It may help if you get a letter from the doctor who treated you. I am just guessing though. You should still check with the Ministry for accurate information.

  25. Other than HIV, are there any other STDs that will be reported to the authorities? For example, if I tested positive for gonorrhoea/chlamydia would the authorities be informed and would they notify family members including wife/parents etc?

    • Other STDs are reported to MOH only for monitoring purposes. You may also have a rather warped idea of what HIV reporting entails. MOH will NOT notify family members or any other person when they know of an individual’s HIV +ve status. They will have a very nice and friendly chat with the person and help him/her inform any person they could have potentially passed the virus to. These people will be told to go for screening. The individual’s identity will be kept secret at all times.

  26. Hi DR Tan,

    I am a Singaporean citizen. Currently I working as a technician at petrochemical company. Would my employer be informed if I am tested HIV positive?

    • In Singapore, a positive HIV test will be reported to MOH. However, if you choose to go for anonymous HIV test, your identity will remain anonymous, meaning a positive result will not be reported to MOH.
      You may visit our Robertson branch for an anonymous test.

  27. Hi doctor! My Friend who currently under EP who wanted to renew his EP, but found HIV + after undergo the test. How Long can he stay in Singapore before the authorise deport him??

  28. Hi dr tan,

    My friend had infected his foreign wife on long term pass with genital herpes. Her long term pass is due for extension. will the immigration cancel her long term pass?

  29. Unfaithful

    Hi doctor,
    I had a encounter with oral with condom and fingering with a sex worker, and had tested negative after 16 days of exposure from ep hiv test. Do i still require any test further?

  30. Hi Dr,
    I am HIV positive been on medication for 2 years.I am due for my full blood test for my reservists status as I’m 35 soon. will the blood test reflect my condition?And will IDA inform my employer if I’m working in the aviation industry.

    • I honestly do not know what kind of tests are done by the SAF when you turn 35. I suggest you give your medical center a call to ask. If the tests consists of a HIV test, then of course your positive status will be known. What does IDA have to do with any of this? Unless I am wrong, IDA stands for Infocomm Development Authority? Anyway, the SAF will not and is actually legally bound not to reveal your HIV status to anyone.

      • Hi Dr Tan ,
        Thks for ur reply,what I meant IDA refer to infectious diseases act as I understand under some nature of job example medical front liners if found with HIV MOH will have to inform the employers so what abt in the airline industry?
        Thks

    • Dr Justin Sim

      I am not sure about this because it depends on whether they make HIV testing mandatory. Of course if they don’t test then they will not find out. But if they do require a test then they will know. After that it is up to their own internal policies on whether they let you employer know. Usually they won’t, they will report to the government but not your employer. Only way to be sure is to ask them directly.

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