Gay and Donating Blood

  • ImUrSuprman05

    Posts: 79

    Nov 10, 2010 6:02 AM GMT
    Wondering what everyone's opinion is on gays donating blood? Is it wrong that I've lied about being gay in order to give blood - I'm O-negative, a universal donor and anyone can use my blood so I feel guilty by NOT donating.
  • Sayrnas

    Posts: 847

    Nov 10, 2010 12:19 PM GMT
    I think the law needs to be taken out. If your blood is clean, what does it matter?

    So, to answer your question ImUrSuprman05, no as long as your clean.
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    Nov 10, 2010 1:09 PM GMT
    I religiously donate every 6 months and feel no guilt when "lying" to the red cross officials.

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    Nov 10, 2010 1:10 PM GMT
    If there are questions on a form about sexual orientation/behavior, I'm sure it has nothing to do with politics or religion, but only with medicine and science. I think it would be criminal to be dishonest, especially when a signature is required affirming the truth of information provided.

    I would love to donate blood, but because I was in Europe during mad cow, that fact alone disqualifies me. I don't have mad cow disease, and my blood is fine, but I wouldn't lie just so I could donate anyway.

    Apparently strict requirements for "purity" trump need for blood. If that's what the experts say, then fine.
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    Nov 10, 2010 1:14 PM GMT
    In Serbia no body asks you are you gay if you want to donate blood thy check your blood pressure asks if you have some hart problem or some disease you know but not if you are gay i donated my blood when i was serving in the army and i wait for 6 mounts and will do it again.
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Nov 10, 2010 1:18 PM GMT
    I've lied about it before and I'd happily do it again. I'm O RH+ so my blood is vital to the NHS, besides I've been tested multiple times, twice in the past year, for everything so I have no issue about handing it over.

    Japan is a bit more tricky since anyone who lived in Europe during the AIDS crisis of the 80's is automatically excluded. You think they'd take into account I was like 4 or 5 but Japan can be a bit arse-backwards when it comes to foreigners.
  • bad_wolf

    Posts: 1002

    Nov 10, 2010 1:24 PM GMT
    If people die, it's not on our heads, I would offer but they've already turned me and my "dirty" blood away. Let them going begging to someone else
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    Nov 10, 2010 1:51 PM GMT
    bad_wolf saidIf people die, it's not on our heads, I would offer but they've already turned me and my "dirty" blood away. Let them going begging to someone else


    Well said, I agree with this. I'm not going to lie just to donate blood - it's not US that should be changing, it's THEM.

    Why should we donate blood when we're being discriminated against? You're just facilitating the discrimination. Shame on you.
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    Nov 10, 2010 4:05 PM GMT
    Nope! I donate every quarter at my job for our blood drive. I have for the past 4 four years. They test the blood any way and toss infected samples and they notify the donor.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Nov 10, 2010 4:49 PM GMT
    Ducky46 saidNope! I donate every quarter at my job for our blood drive. I have for the past 4 four years. They test the blood any way and toss infected samples and they notify the donor.

    Arrrgh! icon_cry.gif People who want to donate or think the ban is discriminatory, please read. You're misunderstanding a statistical issue. Even with testing, the *ratio* of infected blood that makes it past the tests (coming from different groups) is unchanged. As men who sleep with men there is a **much** higher chance that we unknowingly have HIV. It actually is irresponsible to donate.

    The idea that the blood is tested and therefore it is equally safe for gays to donate as non-gays is wrong. It actually is probably irresponsible for gay men to donate. The probability of a gay man having HIV and not knowing it is much, much higher than the general populace. The fact that they test doesn't change the fact that blood from the gay male population is much likelier to pose a danger because the tests all have false negative rates. Unless you can crunch the statistics and do some public good comparisons of the extra blood vs. infection risk taking the gov't's word for it that it's unsafe really is the responsible thing to do.
    This is not about discrimination or some profound confusion on the part of scientists. Like vaccinations this is one of those cases where, if you don't have expertise in the area, you really ought to put some faith in what the medical professionals are telling/asking of you. You're not helping people.


    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/975755/?forumpage=1
    neosyllogy saidGays don't gays need "gay blood" and therefore aren't being disproportionately hurt.
    The only things that pertain to the decision to lift or change the ban are issues of statistics impacting the projected health of recipients.

    Should other high risk groups also be banned? Perhaps.
    Is the rate of HIV+ people high enough that the likely harm outweighs the benefit of additional blood? Perhaps. (Tests are not 100% accurate, there is always a false negative rate -- if you have, let's say, 1 in 10,000 false negative chance (high, but plausible), and 1 in 100 gays that donates is HIV+ [and a *much* higher percentage than that doesn't know they are HIV+] that's still a very real chance of someone being infected with HIV when we're talking about a nation-wide medical system operating over many years. (1 in 1,000,000 chance at >200,000 pints per year --> new infection every ~5 years if they're all used. The raw numbers are hopefully much more favorable... but this is the kind of issue (much simplified) health officials have to deal with.))
    Should the ban be better targeted than just man-to-man sex? Perhaps. But the predictors for HIV+-ness are complicated, and homosexual sex is a very strong predictor for getting HIV, possibly the best for the above purposes. Again, they're not denying anyone blood. They're trying to make *everyone healthier*.
    If they thought they'd save more lives by lifting the ban, they would. They're not doing this to be jerks.
  • Geoedward

    Posts: 657

    Nov 10, 2010 5:04 PM GMT
    I can't give blood. Are you telling me that you have to answer if you are gay or not. That is so wrong. HIV/AIDS is not a gay disease. It does not discriminate. Anyone can be HIV+. I don't care if you are gay or straight. icon_evil.gif
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    Nov 10, 2010 7:34 PM GMT
    I think what neosyllogy is saying is that it is a simple matter of epidemiology (which is no respector of feelings). I think the questions could be better targeted however. Instead of simply asking if you are a homosexual or not, perhaps the questions should be:

    Are you homosexual and have you had unprotected sex in the last 2 years?
    Are you heterosexual and have you had unprotected sex with an sub-Saharan prostitute in the last 2 years?

    and so on.

    As can be seen from some of the posts above, a blanket ban on gay blood donations is perhaps not the best way to encourage honesty from gay potential blood donors.
  • inmidair

    Posts: 70

    Nov 10, 2010 7:52 PM GMT
    I think it's important not to conflate all of the relevant parties into "they." When we say "they" don't allow gay men to donate blood, we are missing part of the point.

    The ban in the United States was instituted in the 80's as a response to the AIDS crisis. The rule comes from the FDA, which reconsidered (but upheld) it earlier this year. Several medical organizations, including the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks, side with gay rights groups like Lambda Legal in arguing that the ban is discriminatory and lacks a strong scientific grounding since the presence of HIV can easily be detected with screening tests.

    I'm under the impression that this type of ban isn't common internationally, but I'd be interested to know more about the policies of other countries.
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    Nov 10, 2010 7:54 PM GMT
    inmidair saidI think it's important not to conflate all of the relevant parties into "they." When we say "they" don't allow gay men to donate blood, we are missing part of the point.

    The ban in the United States was instituted in the 80's as a response to the AIDS crisis. The rule comes from the FDA, which reconsidered (but upheld) it earlier this year. Several medical organizations, including the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks, side with gay rights groups like Lambda Legal in arguing that the ban is discriminatory and lacks a strong scientific grounding since the presence of HIV can easily be detected with screening tests.

    I'm under the impression that this type of ban isn't common internationally, but I'd be interested to know more about the policies of other countries.


    It is the same in the UK.
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:00 PM GMT
    There is a reason for these restrictions. Health care administraters do not make these rules because they are homophobic and want to stop gay people from donating. In fact being gay has nothing to even do with the screening process. The HIV high risk activities exclusion is this :

    HIV High Risk Activities:
    There are a number of high-risk activities for acquiring HIV/AIDS that can indefinitely defer people from giving blood. People who have taken money or drugs for sex, since 1977 cannot give blood.

    All men who have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977 are indefinitely deferred. This is based on current scientific knowledge and statistical information that shows that men who have had sex with other men are at greater risk for HIV/AIDS infection than other people.

    Intravenous use of illegal street drugs/narcotics also constitutes a HIV high risk activity and results in indefinite deferral.


    It's about the risk of putting someone else's life in danger. They are not able to test the blood well enough to determine at 100% accuracy that it does not contain hiv antibodies. Therefore, like the other high risk activities, the chance cannot be taken.

    It's sad that people see this as a political issue instead of a purely scientific issue..
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:03 PM GMT
    Im o- too but I refuse to donate blood.
    If they can't take it as it is than fuck um.
    Also, not going to lie Im willing to bet that gay men keep their bodies healthier (better blood) than most straight people.
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:04 PM GMT
    I was recently turned away at a university blood drive by the Red Cross. I saw nothing on the website about gays not being able to give blood (I checked, because I knew this was an issue). I showed up, filled out the questionnaire and when the nurse looked over my paper work, he said "I'm sorry, man, we can't use your blood because of question #_____".

    I'm wondering if there really is data to show that this is still a necessary practice. And, shouldn't they be screening the blood anyway? Is this the same as profiling?
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:06 PM GMT
    nenslow saidThere is a reason for these restrictions. Health care administraters do not make these rules because they are homophobic and want to stop gay people from donating. In fact being gay has nothing to even do with the screening process. The HIV high risk activities exclusion is this :

    HIV High Risk Activities:
    There are a number of high-risk activities for acquiring HIV/AIDS that can indefinitely defer people from giving blood. People who have taken money or drugs for sex, since 1977 cannot give blood.

    All men who have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977 are indefinitely deferred. This is based on current scientific knowledge and statistical information that shows that men who have had sex with other men are at greater risk for HIV/AIDS infection than other people.

    Intravenous use of illegal street drugs/narcotics also constitutes a HIV high risk activity and results in indefinite deferral.


    It's about the risk of putting someone else's life in danger. They are not able to test the blood well enough to determine at 100% accuracy that it does not contain hiv antibodies. Therefore, like the other high risk activities, the chance cannot be taken.

    It's sad that people see this as a political issue instead of a purely scientific issue..



    There are other groups who are high risk that are not singled out. It seems unbalanced.
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:08 PM GMT
    Rockbiter said

    There are other groups who are high risk that are not singled out. It seems unbalanced.


    It's true that it might be unbalanced, but it's not a question about fairness here, it's a question of safety. So whether or not it makes us feel singled out, doesn't take away from the fact that there is a reason behind it.
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:09 PM GMT
    nenslow saidThere is a reason for these restrictions. Health care administraters do not make these rules because they are homophobic and want to stop gay people from donating. In fact being gay has nothing to even do with the screening process. The HIV high risk activities exclusion is this :

    HIV High Risk Activities:
    There are a number of high-risk activities for acquiring HIV/AIDS that can indefinitely defer people from giving blood. People who have taken money or drugs for sex, since 1977 cannot give blood.

    All men who have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977 are indefinitely deferred. This is based on current scientific knowledge and statistical information that shows that men who have had sex with other men are at greater risk for HIV/AIDS infection than other people.

    Intravenous use of illegal street drugs/narcotics also constitutes a HIV high risk activity and results in indefinite deferral.


    It's about the risk of putting someone else's life in danger. They are not able to test the blood well enough to determine at 100% accuracy that it does not contain hiv antibodies. Therefore, like the other high risk activities, the chance cannot be taken.

    It's sad that people see this as a political issue instead of a purely scientific issue..


    Perhaps, but it does fail to take account of people who will lie, because they feel affronted by the question. If it were phrased so as to target risky sexual behaviour, rather than to impose a blanket ban on homosexual blood donations, not only would it encourage honesty, but it would probably prove more effective in screening out the risk.
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:12 PM GMT
    Mil8 said

    Perhaps, but it does fail to take account of people who will lie, because they feel affronted by the question. If it were phrased so as to target risky sexual behaviour, rather than to impose a blanket ban on homosexual blood donations, not only would it encourage honesty, but it would probably prove more effective in screening out the risk.


    Very good point. I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the way it is, I just wanted to point out the fact that it's a scientific reason this is in place and not a discriminitory reason.

    Ideally, the blood testing will continue to be explored and the hiv test could be instantanious and accurate à 100%
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    Nov 10, 2010 8:24 PM GMT
    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_16407109

    That is why the ban will stay in effect... Hopefully testing will come around soon to catch it in the early stages.
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    Nov 10, 2010 9:04 PM GMT
    No never. I refuse to donate blood and my organs to anyone.
    And I'm eligible. icon_smile.gif

    "Are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977"
    "Have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above" (referring to the male-male contact)

    "There is only a one-year ban for a heterosexual man who had sex with an HIV-positive woman, sex with a prostitute or sex with multiple partners."

    I don't think there would be much of a problem if they removed the life-time ban and just reduced to 1 year like the one for the hetero-man- that is more than enough time for HIV to be detected in the blood.
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    Nov 10, 2010 9:34 PM GMT
    OK, here's the thing guys. Whether we want to believe it or not, there IS a much higher chance for HIV infection if you are gay vs. straight. Just as there IS a much higher chance for blood problems if you've used intravenous drug use, paid for sex, traveled to Africa, weigh under a certain amount of weight, etc.

    I am all for fighting for gay rights, but this isn't because of homophobia, this is because of statistics. They are playing with peoples lives here, and I fully understand why these rules are in place.

    First of all, it is not saying that gay men can't give blood, but gay men that have had sex (which I understand is most of us). Also, straight or bi men who have also had sex with a man are also not permitted to give blood.

    I used to give blood religiously but could not for a year after the two times I traveled in Africa. Now I can't give blood because I lost my virginity. I'm fine with both.

    I think not being allowed to marry, not being able to serve in the armed forces, etc. are all reprehensible and disgusting laws. Not being able to donate blood? Our community has an exponentially higher rate of HIV, and this rule is not to save hurt feelings but to save lives.

    I will not give blood anymore, not as a "fuck you" statement but because I understand the medical reasoning and I am not going to lie when I have to sign my name stating I have answered everything truthfully.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Nov 10, 2010 9:45 PM GMT
    Very good point. I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the way it is, I just wanted to point out the fact that it's a scientific reason this is in place and not a discriminitory reason.

    It is discrimination regardless of the reasons put behind it. It's using prejudice to determine if someone is safe for donating blood or not and it's applied with a bias against homosexuals and not other groups that have a high incidence of HIV compared to other populations. That's why it makes people suspect about their motivations. It's not basing it on behavior but sexual orientation and assuming that all homosexuals behave in the same way when they don't, what is scientific about that?