19 February 2007

Laurent Drelon

Last Tuesday, Laurent Drelon (36 years old) presented a claim of discrimination because he was refused permission to donate blood.

On 16th November 2004, in response to a campaign asking the public to come forward and donate, he attended Saint Louis de Paris Hospital. He was given a health questionnaire to complete, following which he had an interview with a member of staff because of his refusal to complete a section detailing his sexual preferences. He replied that it related to his private life and the doctor concluded he was homosexual; he was refused permission.

On 9th August 2006, almost two years later, he decided to try again. This time, he ticked a box, indicating he was heterosexual. Staff challenged him, whereupon he was informed that a file existed allocating him a reference - ‘FR08’- which is a code used to signify ‘member of the gay community’

Director of Medical Science at EFS (l’Establissement francais du sang) defends the decision on the basis ‘the risk of HIV is about sixty time higher than the general population; because that poses a grave risk to patients, donation of blood by homosexual patients is refused.’

To rely on the fact that homosexual males are more likely to test HIV positive can hardly be a legitimate basis for what amounts to a discriminatory practice. Imagine the outcry if a sexist or racist employer relied upon statistical evidence showing a higher rate of crime among a particular minority or that women took more leave from the workplace to refuse consideration of job applications from that group

One assumes that all donated blood is thoroughly screened before use?

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