to your health

Kyle Freeman Lied About Gay Sex During 18 Blood Donations. Now Canada Is Suing Him

buddy_blood_drop1

We’re on the record arguing against blood donation policies than ban men who have sex with other men. Sure, they’re discriminatory, but also stupid: Screening techniques can weed out HIV-tainted blood, and there’s a risk of accepting bad blood from straight men and women, too. So we’re perfectly fine with little white lies when donating, accidentally forgetting to check the box that says you sleep with other dudes. But when Canadian man Kyle Freeman tried doing that, repeatedly, Canadian Blood Services decided to sue. And now he’s suing back.

Canadian officials says Freeman lying is what’s against the rules — and even if he does think the no-gays policy is discriminatory, he’s breaking the law by not being forthcoming. (CBS’ original suit against Freeman dates back to 2002.) Not quite, counters Freeman, who maintains the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood not only doesn’t make scientific sense, but also violates his constitutional rights to equal treatment.

At the heart of Canadian Blood Service’s claim is whether a blood donor has a duty to tell the truth about his personal and sexual history — whether or not he thinks the questions are unnecessary or even discriminatory, lawyer Sally Gomery said.

The court needs to decide if Freeman’s rights were violated and, if so, whether that’s a defence for negligent misrepresentation.

Gomery argued that if Freeman believed the policy was wrong, he should have fought it.

“What that individual cannot do is take the law into his own hands,” she said.

Freeman, who is not HIV positive, admits he lied when asked if he’s had sex with another man — even once — since 1977.

He donated blood 18 times but the lawsuit focuses on four donations between 1998 — when CBS was formed after the Krever Inquiry into tainted blood — and 2002.

That’s when the agency linked him to anonymous e-mails stating he had lied when giving blood.

Freeman argues the question excludes gay men because they’re gay – not because they’ve engaged in behavior that puts them at high risk for getting HIV and other diseases.

Instead, he argues, CBS could ask people if they’d had unprotected sex, then exclude them from donating during the three months it would take for HIV to be detected in their blood if they were infected.

So why does Freeman — who wants $250,000 in damages — keep donating blood? Because he’s been tested, he says, and benefiting society with his blood is more important to lying to officials. We tend to agree. If you also agree, we suggest commenting anonymously, lest Canadian officials get a hold of your Internet trail.