skippitb

Donating Blood- Should Gay Men Have A Lifetime Ban?

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The blood donation thread reminded me of this.

There are a few things that will give you a lifetime ban on donating blood including being a man and ever having had sex with another man. Do you think that this ban is justifiable?

I'll keep my opinion out of it for a while.

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I understand why that rule is in place, but that rule was instated quite a while ago. Surely we have progressed enough that actually testing positive for HIV could be the lifetime ban and not sexual preference? Also, I thought safe-handling practices would prevent spreading the disease among donors, phlebotomists and volunteers at the blood-drive function and all blood was tested and positive donors were informed of their status. UNLESS these men can harbor HIV w/out testing positive, I don't understand why they cannot participate if they are HIV-free.

I do NOT know much about HIV at all, feel free to educate me.

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I had this discussion with a friend at school a few weeks ago. I found the whole topic very interesting. As a young gay male, I did not know I was unable to donate blood. (However, the idea never really interested to me because I am a chronic carrier for mono.) That being said, he shared some interesting statistics with me. Black people, both males and females, now hold the highest rate for AIDS/HIV infection. Would one every say that "black people" as a whole would be unable to donate blood? I think not. It would be considered racist, just as forbidding gay men from donating should be considered discriminatory against homosexuals.

http://www.avert.org/usa-race-age.htm

Just test the blood like is done for other diseases. There are PLENTY of "clean" gay males.

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i seem to recall that anybody living in europe in the late 1990's wasn't allowed to donate in america because of the raging case of hoof and mouth we had over here. i've never tried to donate in the states but was told that by the american consulate here when i went to renew a passport a couple of years ago. here they run certain donor tests, but i couldn't tell you what they are other than blood type.

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If they are HIV/AIDS free, I don't see a problem with clean gay men giving blood. The blood gets tested for the disease, and if they are positive, they are informed immediately, and cannot donate, at least for the general public. HIV/AIDS people can donate blood for their own future use, I believe.

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Originally, before HIV testing was commonplace, a certain segment of men were donating blood for the free HIV test. I believe times have changed so perhaps that should be re-examined. I know these things are governed by statistics. While the fastest growing group for new HIV infections is heterosexual females, I am not sure on the actual statistics regarding how many gay men are positive for HIV now. I know the public health officials live by these statistics, as well as the statistics of disease in other regions of the world, when they make these questionnaires.

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That rule is so outdated. I'm sure it came about in the 80's when AIDS got put on the map. But its not a "gay" disease. And we REALLY need to educate young people of that. Because if straight teenagers equate AIDS=gay, they think they're immune to it.

Rule needs to be changed. I'm sure they're testing ALL the blood for AIDS. So just test everyone!

Most of the questions on there are using your good faith answers anyway. So how many homosexuals lie about their sexual orientation, and the blood gets used? What is the disease contraction rate of blood transfusions?

As a person who needs a blood transfusion about once every 2 years due to a chronic disease, we NEED more donors. Our local blood bank is always short on donations. I desperately wish I could donate, but since I am always on the low end (once, I donated and then a week later needed a transfusion!) I cannot.

God Bless those who donate (and those who want to and can't!)

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Easy, it's purple.

(I KID, I KID!)

LOL :rotf:

Another way to occasionally make a good guess...when I worked at a lab we had one patient that had changed their name to Princess. No last name. Like Prince. So when we would get blood on them it would always say "Princess, Princess (since we had to put something for a last name); DOB; __ y/o male" I mean you can never assume, but in this case if you did you would be correct.

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no kidding, i had an eye doctor once named "peter doktor" (in german, doctor). so he was doktor doktor :rotf: .

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Some CDC statistics to consider (as of 2009/10):

49% of HIV infections are in MSM (men who have sex with men)

61% of all new HIV infections are in MSM; 79% of HIV infection in men are in MSM

the rate of HIV infection in MSM is 44 times higher than that of a strictly hetero or asexual man

in 20 large metro areas screened 19% of MSM were HIV positive.

The FDA figured that using a 12 month deferral for MSM instead of a life time ban would result in 1,600 more HIV infected units being donated.

The current methodology for testing donor blood 3/1000 rate of flat out false negatives and on top of that will generally miss infection entirely if blood is tested within two weeks of infection.

Based on these numbers I personally find the ban justified. I am hardly homophobic, but after working in a level 1 trauma center lab and seeing how much blood goes in and out of there I personally find a 3/1000 risk too high for me when put in combination with very high risk populations. I wish there were a better way to screen without eliminating all MSM. I think that MSM who have been in a committed monogamous relationship for over a year and had recent negative testing outside of donor blood pooling would satisfy me (and even this may introduce 4-5 HIV more positive units in to the otherwise healthy blood supply).

As for IV drug users; I don't have any problem at all with their lifetime ban. No exceptions. They are also very high risk of HIV, HepB, and C and I just don't think that you could trust their word on how long they have been clean.

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okay, but how do you propose to test blood for "gay"? last time i looked that question is not on the questionnaire, along with "do you prefer the missionary position or doggy style?", because it's PRIVATE, and you could probably get your arse sued for insisting on an answer to a question that is NONE OF ANYBODY'S BUSINESS but your own.

personally i want my sexually promiscuous "i refuse to wear a condom", chases anything female in a skirt spreading std's (sexually transmitted diseases) with abandon second cousin banned for life from donating blood. not that the thought of doing something decent for his fellow man would EVER occur to him. but but but, he is so NOT gay.

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okay, but how do you propose to test blood for "gay"? last time i looked that question is not on the questionnaire, along with "do you prefer the missionary position or doggy style?", because it's PRIVATE, and you could probably get your arse sued for insisting on an answer to a question that is NONE OF ANYBODY'S BUSINESS but your own.

personally i want my sexually promiscuous "i refuse to wear a condom", chases anything female in a skirt spreading std's (sexually transmitted diseases) with abandon second cousin banned for life from donating blood. not that the thought of doing something decent for his fellow man would EVER occur to him. but but but, he is so NOT gay.

I find self-reporting sufficient, although its flaws are what have caused the few transfusion based HIV transmissions recently. The MSM ban is very much the same as dura mater transplanting or being born in certain west African countries. There are no tests for either of those things either, and they still put you on a life time ban list due to increased risk.

And despite my title, being gay really has nothing to do with it. It is all about the risk. Anything that introduces inordinate risk to the blood pool is not worth it, IMO. Also, donating blood is not a right, and private health care organizations and NGOs are free and encouraged to use discriminatory practices to ensure public safety first and foremost.

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Or how about the people lined up to donate plasma for cash....any of these 'experts' want to take a second and ask how many needles they put in their arms and share that with others?

What I find amazing is that since the AIDS breakout in the 80's ( when all of this came to the forefront)...the only 'target group' of folks that have since then put a serious effort...and consequently an almost complete handle...on contracting HIV/AIDS is the homosexual community as a whole.

The intravenous drug users, prostitutes ( common bottom barrel street walkers, not the bunny ranch variety), and the non condom wearing/non-condom demanding bone-heads, and third world countries are the groups still spreading this around in bulk.

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Or how about the people lined up to donate plasma for cash....any of these 'experts' want to take a second and ask how many needles they put in their arms and share that with others?

What I find amazing is that since the AIDS breakout in the 80's ( when all of this came to the forefront)...the only 'target group' of folks that have since then put a serious effort...and consequently an almost complete handle...on contracting HIV/AIDS is the homosexual community as a whole.

The intravenous drug users, prostitutes ( common bottom barrel street walkers, not the bunny ranch variety), and the non condom wearing/non-condom demanding bone-heads, and third world countries are the groups still spreading this around in bulk.

Phlebotomists at donation centers should really have no problem identifying an IV drug abuser. That tears up your veins in a way that a trained person would find easy to spot (unless of course the person is actively avoiding using the AC vein or others that would be seen and felt by a phleb). Sex workers and people who have traveled to or lived in high HIV risk countries have their own variable bans from donating blood. Your average run of the mill promiscuous heterosexual doesn't. And that is a shame. If it were up to me I would put a 12 month waiting period after any new sexual partners for anyone.

I am not sure that I would agree that the gay community as a whole has gotten a handle on HIV. Perhaps the face of the gay community, the young, white, well educated, high-income, gay youth are getting more of a handle on HIV transmission, but I wouldn't agree that as a whole MSM are successfully curbing transmission. With well over half of all new cases of HIV still being diagnosed in MSM there is definitely still a lot of work to do, especially among racial minorities (who are less likely to identify as "gay") and the educationally and financially disadvantaged.

I wish the numbers were less dramatic than they are, but I do feel like the media, in (rightly) trying to dispel homophobic myths, tries to portray HIV as less of a problem for the gay community than it is. While it is definitely in the public interest to get out the message that HIV can affect anyone, the reality is that it still disproportionately affects MSM at a rate 44 times that of hetero or asexual men. Even I, who studied HIV specifically in college, was incredibly surprised by how widely HIV is still concentrated within the population of MSM.

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an ex-neigbor of mine used to own a very hip disco right next to the frankfurt international airport. you can imagine who went through there while waiting for a flight (mick jagger, phil collins, sting), and she said she looked UNDER THE TONGUES of all of her staff before they started their shift to check if anybody had been shooting up recently.

now i cannot count the number of times i have donated blood in my life time, but nobody has EVER asked to look under my tongue. how does a phlebotomist get around that?

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an ex-neigbor of mine used to own a very hip disco right next to the frankfurt international airport. you can imagine who went through there while waiting for a flight (mick jagger, phil collins, sting), and she said she looked UNDER THE TONGUES of all of her staff before they started their shift to check if anybody had been shooting up recently.

now i cannot count the number of times i have donated blood in my life time, but nobody has EVER asked to look under my tongue. how does a phlebotomist get around that?

I don't know. :confused0024: After a while even the veins in your tongue are going to be destroyed and you will have to go elsewhere. But really, I guess if someone is going to shoot up under their tongue to hide their drug abuse then they probably also wouldn't have many qualms about lying on a questionnaire about their drug use or sexual preference. That is how all these bans work. You voluntarily answer questions and the blood banks trust you to be honest. There is no good way to get around people who would willfully lie.That is why they screen blood as best they can for drugs and diseases. I would hope and guess that a drug abuser's desire to give blood would not outweigh the risk to them of being tested and found out due to a positive drug screen.

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okay, but how do you propose to test blood for "gay"? last time i looked that question is not on the questionnaire, along with "do you prefer the missionary position or doggy style?", because it's PRIVATE, and you could probably get your arse sued for insisting on an answer to a question that is NONE OF ANYBODY'S BUSINESS but your own.

I swear it's a question on the pre-donation sheet I fill out. It's something along the lines of "if you are male, have you ever had sex with another male" and then for women there's a "have you ever had sex with a man who has had sex with another male".

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the whole cage rattling business over homosexuality in america baffles most germans. gay marriage here is legal with all of the accoutrements, nobody is interested in whom you sleep with (as long as both parties are consenting adults), only if your blood test shows a problem with joining the donor pool.

hey..when it comes to that how about banning catholic priest known pedophiles? let's see THAT question asked.

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hey..when it comes to that how about banning catholic priest known pedophiles? let's see THAT question asked.

What public health risk to the blood pool do pedophiles present? Children are known to be extremely low risk for HIV, Hep B, and Hep C in America.

It seems like you either don't agree that gay males pose a higher risk to the blood than the general population or that you feel that the increased risk to public safety is worth allowing MSM to donate.

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well then i've clearly miscommunicated. i find it indiscrimate and arbitrary that one bans an entire demographic based on their sexual orientation. man--THAT's a tangled web called ASSUMPTION.

if we take your debate point a step further, then gays should be banned from being doctors, dentists, lab technicians, nurses because they ALL involve taking precautionary measures. you know--hand condoms? FACT IS, there is no such ban in europe, i guess because nobody cares who you want to be intimate with when it comes to donating blood. they only care ABOUT THE BLOOD ITSELF.

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Now I really dont get it. How is actively donating blood the same as being a healthcare provider. Under what even remotely normal circumstances would a healthcare provider be puting their blood in someone else? The opposite is usually the problem. In 8 years in a major hospital I never saw a patient exposed to the blood or body fluids of an employee. That would require some serious doing. Not to mention that there is a big difference between purposely putting someones at risk blood in another and actively doing everything in your power to avoid doing so.

ETA: the UK at least has a ban on MSM donating blood within 12 months of having sex with or without a condom.

Interestingly the UK appears to have a ban on its own citizens: http://www.giveblood.ie/Become_a_Donor/Keeping_Blood_Safe/Safety/Safety.html

"The IBTS does not accept donations from people who have lived for a total of 1 year or more in the UK between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1996. This includes living, working or on holidays. By the UK we mean England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. "

I can't find any specifically german blood centers, but Germany does use the red cross which has a life time ban on MSM donating.

I can not find anything that supports your claim that Europe does not exclude MSM from donating blood. The best I have found are 12 month limits after last male to male sexual contact.

Edited by skippitb

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a sexually irresponsible blood donor is a sexually irresonsible blood donor, gay, straight, republican or democrat, christian, muslim or agnostic. EVERYBODY's blood is RED, has red blood cells and white blood cells--biology 101. you have to test it for the nasty stuff IN it potentially, not ask how it got there. bad blood? you're out--that simple, and by the way i have NO interest what you want to do behind doors if you are a consenting ADULT; i want to know if your BLOOD IS OKAY TO PUT INTO THE DONOR POOL.

"statistics" have apparently reassured (or not) that the people TAKING BLOOD AND EXAMINING IN LABS WHERE THEIR *** COULD BE HIT is that EVERYBODY who is sexually active without comdoms or goes to the bathroom or has to exchange currency to buy food, doesn't wash their hands after taking a crap or washing their toddlers (after taking a crap) just on the playground, might be a risk. the NEED is greater than that. i betcha some person really dependent on a blood transfusion would care less if your blood was gay or not.

the point with catholic priests who sexually abused kids? you do the math; they might transmit it. that will be the next sh!tstorm, and holy cow it is long overdue.

by the way HC, why are we not allowed to write "***"? it's in the old testament.

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for anybody who is interested, i wrote a.s.s., or arse according to the british. it's that four legged long eared critter mary apparently rode into bethlehem on. it now apparently ranks up there with **** cheney on the censored list (but THAT i can get *behind* :rotf: )

why is a.s.s. censored?

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