The exposed records belong to 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV before January 2013, and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed before December 2011, the MOH said.
The records contained individuals' names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, test results and a slew of other health information.
In a wild story, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, who is HIV-positive, used his boyfriend's blood to pass blood tests so he could move to Singapore in 2008.
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. Ler was convicted of "abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the Police and MOH" in September a year ago and jailed for 24 months.
"We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident". "Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals".
The ministry says they are working with 'relevant parties to scan the Internet for signs of further disclosure of the information.' The Ministry apologized for the leak and say they are working with the affected parties.
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In May 2018, after Brochez had been deported from Singapore, MOH received information that Brochez still had part of the records he had in 2016 but the information did not appear to have been disclosed in any public manner.
Brochez was deported from the country in May 2018, after serving a 28-month prison term for "numerous fraud and drug-related offenses", including lying about his own HIV-positive status to the Ministry of Manpower to obtain an employment pass in 2008. The ministry said it then worked with "relevant parties" to disable access to the information. The HIV information leak was not related to the cyber breach.
Last year, Singapore revealed that personal information of about 1.5 million people including the prime minister was stolen after hackers infiltrated the government health database.
He is not now in the city-state, the ministry said, adding that authorities were seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts. Since 26 January, we have been progressively contacting the individuals to notify them and render assistance, " the Ministry says in a statement.
"This incident is believed to have arisen from the mishandling of information by [the doctor], who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information", the ministry said. Ler was sentenced to 24 months in jail, but has since filed an appeal, which is expected to be heard in March.
May 2016: MOH lodged a police report after receiving information that Farrera-Brochez possessed information which appeared to be from the HIV Registry.
It was only on January 22 this year that the ministry was alerted to the possibility more information from the HIV registry remained in the hands of Brochez who, this time, had leaked the information online.