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Singapore - The personal records of 14 200 HIV patients in Singapore were found to have been stolen and leaked online by a US man, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The leaked records belonged to 5 400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed with HIV up until December 2011, the ministry said. 

The information included their names, identification numbers, contact information, HIV test results and related medical information, along with the personal information of 2 400 of their contacts. 

The man had gained access to the information through his partner, a Singaporean doctor who was head of the country's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013, which oversees the national HIV registry.

The US man was eventually deported from Singapore in 2018 after he was convicted of fraud and drug-related offences and sentenced to 28 months in jail.

The fraud charges stemmed from when the man, who was himself HIV-positive, had lied about his HIV status to authorities in order to maintain his employment status in Singapore. 

His partner, the former health official, is serving a 24-month sentence on charges of abetting the man to commit cheating, and of providing false information to the authorities.

"We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident," the ministry said. "Our priority is the well-being of the affected individuals," it added.

The ministry said it was working "with relevant parties to disable access to the information." However, officials have warned that the culprit is still in possession of the information and could disclose it publicly in the future. 

dpa