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Infected blood inquiry: Royal Free medics blamed infected blood victim's illness on 'homosexual lifestyle'

PUBLISHED: 16:14 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 23 October 2019

A young Mark Ward - this picture was shown to the Infected Blood Inquiry. Picture: Mark Ward

A young Mark Ward - this picture was shown to the Infected Blood Inquiry. Picture: Mark Ward

Archant

While he was a patient at the Royal Free Hospital's haemophilia centre, Mark Ward told the Infected Blood Inquiry last week, his "homosexual lifestyle" was blamed by medics for infections including HIV, hepatitis C and cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Mark Ward during the time he worked at British Airways. Picture: Mark WardMark Ward during the time he worked at British Airways. Picture: Mark Ward

Mark, who was diagnosed with haemophilia as a small child and told he was HIV positive in a Royal Free waiting room when he was 14, said homophobia had impacted his treatment and support for decades. He said he was "certain" that his sexuality "has played a huge part in compromising" his treatment.

He had contracted HIV and hep C through contaminated blood products given to treat his haemophilia.

At the inquiry he discussed how the former director of the Royal Free's haemophilia centre Prof Christine Lee had blamed his "homosexual lifestyle" for illnesses and refused to display an official haemophilia society leaflet Mark had contributed to about being gay and a haemophiliac. Mark said: "They wouldn't even have the booklet in the Haemophilia Centre."

Mark - who has encountered trouble even this year accessing to benefits from the DWP, was supported by his husband Richard Dudley Smith as he explained how over decades he had repeatedly defied being told to prepare for imminent death - and that he considered the people who had treated him to be "abusers".

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Mark's benefits from the DWP are currently "on review".

Showing a picture of himself aged "four or five", Mark said: "Look at that little face there, because that's the face that they began their research on."

Richard also gave evidence and spoke about how Mark had developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how "unlike heterosexual couples, we have never been warned of any potential risks to me, nor have I been offered any training to help Mark administer his treatment." He added: "We have been treated with contempt and told: 'This is a family unit' - that's a quote."

The couple said they had had to fight for Richard's rights as the male partner of an infected haemophiliac with the Macfarlane Trust - who refused to officially recognise him as Mark's partner because the system was "was set up for wives or girlfriends".

The inquiry is set to continue into 2020.

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