Gay men Donating blood

JL - posted on 03/04/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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In 1983 a ban was instilled by the FDA preventing gay men from donating blood. The ban was placed during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and has stood since 1983. Senator John Kerry along with 17 other Democratic Senators and 1 Independent have written an open letter to the FDA demanding that the ban be repealed. The Senators are backed by The American Red Cross, America's blood centers, and AABB who all agree that the ban should be repealed and that there is no just reasoning for the ban.



Since 1983 modern screening,advance HIV testing, and our understanding of the disease have allowed for the medical and sceintific community to exclude almost every HIV/AIDS inflicted individuals from giving blood or from anyone recieving their blood. In fact experts say that the current screening processes and testing have reduced the risk of tainted blood entering the blood supply system undeteced to practically ZERO. There is no scientific or medical evidence to back any reason for the ban being justifiable. The ban is simply outdated and no longer has a place. It now just stands as a stereotypical form of discrimination against a part of our society.





What do you all think of the ban and the fight to repeal it.

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16 Comments

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Cathelijn - posted on 03/06/2010

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I think it is a crazy law ! they always say that not enough people give blood. Why not let everyone give blood and test it like they already do.

Anyone can carry a disease!



Also I believe that people who where born and lived in Africa are not allowed to donate blood either which is crazy in my opinion because there is a huge shortage of black people donating blood or organs .

Please tell me if I am incorrect I read it somewhere can't remember where?

Rosie - posted on 03/06/2010

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i agree 100% and when answering those questions i found myself sitting there thinking about a one night stand where i could barely remember his name, let alone if he had sex with another man, or had a blood transfusion-kinda hard to find out when the only thing you know for sure about the man is that he's a boxer or brief type of guy. ( i was a little bit of a harlot when i was 19-20!).

i think i'm done being the devils advocate. i don't like it when i question things that i know i don't oppose, makes me feel icky.

Krista - posted on 03/05/2010

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And Kati, some of that stuff is impossible to know. How the hell would I know if any of my exes ever rode the baloney pony? I'm assuming they didn't, but you never know, right?

Jess - posted on 03/05/2010

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Wow ! Thats flat our discrimination. Here in Australia we have completely different guidelines as to who can donate blood and your sexual orientation certainly isn't one !

Rosie - posted on 03/05/2010

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i donate plasma on a regular basis and before each donation i have to go through a series of questions. here are some:

have you ever had sex with a man that's had sex with a man?
have you ever visited africa?
have you ever used intravenous drugs, or slept with someone who has?
have you received a blood transfusion?
have you gotten a tattoo recently?

i've always wondered what would happen if i answered yes to those questions, or how they would know if someone lied. the one about the blood transfusion gets me though. are they saying that they aren't so confident in the testing procedures of donated blood, that they aren't willing to take someone that has had a transfusion? it creeps me out.

i do understand that it's ridiculous to ban gay people from donating just because they're gay, BUT they are in a high risk category, after answering those questions above so many times, it makes me wonder why they even ask those questions to begin.will they take any donation from anybody BUT homosexuals or are other high risk categories included with this?
i've asked myself if i was dying and i needed a blood transfusion would i take it if i knew it was from an intravenous drug user? a homosexual? someone who visited africa? or had a blood transfusion themselves? they are all considered high risk categories. i can't say that i would take it eagerly until i find out the answer to why they ask these questions in the first place. i feel horrible for saying that, but for me i am truly concerned about their testing procedures. like i mentioned before why do they ask these questions if they are so confident in their procedures? are they mearly a formality to make it seem like they won't take blood from high risk categories, so people feel safer getting a transfusion?

i understand everything everybody has said before, and i do agree. but even esther has stated that she would feel alot better about her gay brother in law than someone enjoying the life of sleeping with whoever while snorting coke, because he lives a hell of a lot better lifestyle than the other. i don't know, am i making any sense at all? lol!

Esther - posted on 03/05/2010

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It is a ridiculous and offensive policy that needs to be repealed immediately. It's also unenforceable. As others have pointed out, how on earth would you know who is or isn't gay? You would have to hope that they would tell you (and know) the truth. What about people like Ted Haggard who is "not gay", just doing it with male prostitutes while snorting coke? I'd be a hell of a lot more worried about him being infected than my brother-in-law who has been in a monogamous relationship with another man for the last 15 years.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/04/2010

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I think that ban is ridiculous! It's a fairly big chunk of the population that could be donating, but aren't allowed too. If they test all the blood anyways, why should it matter? One day I'll donate blood but as it is I get way too many tattoos and piercings, and they have stupid rules about that as well :S

JL - posted on 03/04/2010

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I know Jodi. My BIL and his partner who is an ER nurse have dontated blood many times. No one ever stopped them because they were gay and neither of them carry any disease of some sort to exclude their blood donations. It is just a stupid law to have on the books and has no place in our progressive society.

Jodi - posted on 03/04/2010

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gay men donate blood despite the ban


Very true Joy. After all, it's not like anyone has their sexuality printed on their ID or driver's licence, so how on earth could it be enforced anyway, really?

JL - posted on 03/04/2010

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They screen and test blood no matter what your sexual preferance or sexual activity is so there really is not reason especially when HIV/AIDS is not statistically a "gay" disease. Of course with more donors that would mean more testing and screening but that would also mean more blood available which is needed especially during times of natural disasters.



The HIV/AIDS rates are higher among African American women more than any other group..do we ban all African American women from donating. HIV/AIDS is also disproportionally high among Hispanics..should we ban all people of hispanic ancestry from donating.



Whether it is HIV/AIDS or not all blood donations are tested and screened because there are a number of things people carry that can make donated blood unsuitable.



The ban is based on what we knew in the 1980s which was not much of anything. All we knew was paranoia and hypothesis. Now we know and understand enough to get the point that banning one group of people based on who they are is not neccessary. Now banning intraveous drug users that is a whole other subject.



The law should be repealed especially since the reality is that gay men donate blood despite the ban we just don't acknowledge it and not many places enforce the ban or want to enforce the ban.

Krista - posted on 03/04/2010

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As far as I'm aware, Kati, the problem isn't a backlog of screening -- it's a lack of donations.

Besides, when you consider the donation rate amongst the general public, and then the total population of gay men in the United States, you're really not talking about an overwhelming increase in the number of donors. I'm sure the screening facilities wouldn't be unduly burdened.

Jodi - posted on 03/04/2010

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Kati, they have to test ALL of the blood anyway, regardless of your demographic risk level. I don't believe that it would make any difference at all. Sure, more DONORS means more testing, but sexuality is irrelevant as to whether the blood must be tested.

Krista - posted on 03/04/2010

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It IS ridiculous. If they're talking about "high-risk sexual practices" (i.e. anal sex), an awful lot of heterosexuals engage in that. But we don't ban straight people from donating blood.

Like Joy said, the screening is up to snuff, so let them donate.

Rosie - posted on 03/04/2010

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i'm gonna play devils advocate here to get an answer that i can't think of, from your point of view.

wouldn't lifting the ban make it so much more testing on blood that is more likely to have hiv (since most of the people infected with hiv in this country are homosexual or use intravenous drugs), takes time, and resources away from testing blood that is less likely to be infected, therefore getting it out into the community faster.

i do think it is discriminatory, but what i just stated does concern me a little bit. are we supposed to lift the ban on people that use intravenous drugs too? cause that seems silly to me.

i would like to add, that i am as far from a gaybasher that you can get, and am passionate about gay rights. i would just like someone to effectively refute my arguments. PLEASE, cause i don't like what i just wrote!!

Jodi - posted on 03/04/2010

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I think it is ridiculous that the ban still stands. It really does make perfect sense to remove the ban. Firstly, for all the reasons Sara mentioned, but also for the fact that there is another 5-10% of the population available to donate blood. I don't know what blood donation rates are like in the US, but I do know that here in Australia, there are certain times of year that donated blood gets VERY low, and the Red Cross can do with all the blood it can get. I see absolutely no reason why the ban shouldn't be removed.

Sara - posted on 03/04/2010

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I think if anyone has ever read the book "And the band played on" will understand that the politics of AIDS/HIV in this country in the early 80's was ridiculous and wrong. And discriminatory. I can understand why they had this ban in place for safety when there was no money/no research going in to finding out more about the disease, but times have changed and so should this. Just because your gay doesn't mean that you have AIDS/HIV. I think the fastest growing population of HIV + people now are african american women. Do they have the balls to keep them from donating just because of they are black women? I don't think so.

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