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Gay Men and Blood Donations



Ok. One of my favorite pastimes when i'm bored at work is to watch Queer as Folk, among other things. I watched an episode today that kind of reminded me about an experience that I think is not only important, but I feel strongly.


Being able to donate my blood to a blood bank.


I did some research and found that the ban comes from a 1983 ban on gay men donating blood because of an HIV risk. To me, this is understandable especially given the fear and the lack of proper testing at the time. Today, in my oppinion, is a different matter all together. When researching this topic, I was highly suprised that the FDA kept the ban in place even after 14 years.


In 2007, after groups like the American Red Cross said that the ban should be lifted and in it's place a 12 month deferral should be put in it's place. Why? Because of new tests that can detect HIV in donated blood between 10 to 21 days. When I read this and found out that the ban was still kept in place with the reason that the FDA is trying to prevent HIV infections.


Why, if there are tests that can prove someone is positive or negative within 21 days, would that be a concern? Why, if I've been in a monogmous relationship with a man, should that prevent me from donating blood? The FDA's answer to this, yes. Does that mean if I was straight, hired 12 different prostitutes within a week of donating blood, should this prevent me from donating blood? The FDA's answer to this, no.


I never really thought about this in context before, but now that I have, I think that I should be allowed the right to donate my blood provided that it get's tested.


That's it for now, i'm stepping off my soapbox :)


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You know, I give blood here in Belgium...

And every time I go there I need to sign this paper, clearing that I don't show any dangerous behaviour.


I'm guessing you know what that dangerous behaviour means, well, having sex with a man, being a man.


So if I ever do have sex with a guy, I can't give blood here anymore either :P

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I think it's discrimination. This is something in which we need to fight, because it is unacceptable.

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I don't know. I think if this testing is very new then it should be given a period of time to double check that it really is fool proof. then it does become discrimination. but I understand why it is the way it is under the older testing.

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