By Patrick B. Craine
OTTAWA, Ontario, October 7, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexual man who is suing Canadian Blood Services (CBS) for the right to donate blood was found to be infected with syphilis and gonorrhea after having lied repeatedly on the questionnaire about his sexual history. An Ottawa court heard the case this week.
CBS launched a suit against Kyle Freeman, 36, for negligent misrepresentation after they found out that he had lied on their form and, through regular blood screening, that he had syphilis.
In response, Freeman has launched his own suit against CBS, alleging that the policy violates his Charter right to equality and that it is scientifically unfounded.
Freedman lied on the CBS questionnaire because, he said, he would have been “blacklisted” from donating henceforth. “Once they found out I was in a same sex relationship, I would not be able to donate blood anymore,” he said. “I would be blacklisted.”
“I felt my risk was non-existent,” he said. “I wanted the blood to be used. I took all the precautions for the blood to be used.”
CBS policy prohibits blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977, in an effort to screen out donors with sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV. Relying on blood tests to screen out blood with HIV is dangerous because the disease may not show up in tests for up to three months.
Mr. Freeman says he believes giving blood is the “ultimate gift you can give someone.” He gave blood 18 times between 1990 and 2002, relying on his own self-assessment, based on frequent blood tests, that he was not infected.
CBS' lawyer told the court that Freeman's case illustrates how “very dangerous” it is to rely on self-assessment in giving blood. “[The] rigorous donor-screening process is critical in minimizing the possibility that, through error, an infected blood unit will be transfused to a patient,” she said.
Freeman's lawyer, Patricia LeFebour, contends that his blood donations have never infected anyone. “There can be no doubt that Mr. Freeman shares the commitment of others to contribute to a safe supply of blood for Canadians who need transfusions of blood components,” she said. “His donating, like the donation of many other Canadians, has in fact helped Canadians in need of blood.”
The CBS lawsuit followed anonymous e-mails sent to them by Freeman in June 2002, in which he admitted to lying on the questionnaire to “stimulate discussion, research and change.” He linked to information that gave evidence of behaviors more risky than male homosexual sex.
While Freeman contends that a ban on men who have had sex with men is scientifically unfounded, a large body of evidence indicates otherwise.
For example, in August, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced their estimate that the rate of AIDS is 50 times higher among American homosexual men than in the rest of the population. In 2008, the CDC revealed that approximately 53% of new HIV cases in 2006 were in homosexual men.
Last year, the head of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS department, epidemiologist Kevin de Cock, admitted that outside of sub-Saharan Africa there is no pandemic of AIDS amongst heterosexuals, saying it is among homosexual men that the disease is on the rise. Further, the WHO warned earlier this year that it is male homosexual sex that is causing the spread of AIDS in Asia.
Perhaps more shocking, relating to the issue of self-assessment, in 2004 a University of Toronto survey of 5,000 homosexual and bisexual men in Ontario found that 27% of those who had HIV did not know that they were infected.
In 2007, the FDA renewed their ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men, saying, “A history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for the presence of and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”
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