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Thursday, March 27, 2008
Barber Misleads on Gays, Blood and South Africa

In a March 27 column, Matt Barber essentially claims that gays are filthy, disease-ridden scum who are plotting to kill straight people by donating blood. On top of that, he misleads about a few things. One claim in particular is of note:

In South Africa, militant homosexual activists have been "protesting" by deliberately and surreptitiously violating that nation's blood ban, aiming to flood blood banks with 70,000 units. Who knows how much blood has been contaminated or how many innocent people have been infected. This isn't a protest; it's an act of violence.

Barber treats this as if it was a current story; in fact, the BBC first reported on it in January 2006. The BBC goes on to note that at the same time, the South African National Blood Services also banned blood donations from blacks, noting that "President Thabo Mbeki's blood was destroyed because he was black and because his doctor had refused to complete the personal history questionnaire used to screen donors." Does Barber approve of that ban as well?

Barber doesn't mention that South Africa has since lifted the blanket ban on gay men donating blood, allowing those who have been celibate for six months to donate.

While Barber makes a big deal in his column about HIV and AIDS being a "gay disease," that's not the case in South Africa. It's estimated that as many as one in five South African adults -- and nearly 30 percent of pregnant women -- have HIV.

Barber also doesn't mention that most countries test donated blood for HIV, making the actual threat much smaller than he purports it to be.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:04 PM EDT

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