FDA views gay sex as immoral and unethical.

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    Feb 02, 2010 10:23 PM GMT
    Today, my school was having a blood drive. I love blood drives. Giving blood and saving a life brings a sense of humanitarianism for me. But today is when my bigheartedness would be put to an halt.

    As I filled out all of the paperwork and listen to the regulations, it came time to fill out the medical history questionnaire. As I answered the "confidential" questions, the same sex intercourse question came up. Every time I've given blood, I have not been able to say yes to having had gay sex prior to me giving blood. I stood my ground this time. I skipped the question the first time, but at the end of the questionnaire, the nurse asked me the question, and I answered yes.

    During this whole process, I was messaging my boyfriend and he told me that I wouldn't be able to give blood. Being a little stubborn, I told him they can't deny me because I've had gay sex. After I answered yes, I could see her body language shift and not for the good. She opened a thick binder, searched for a number, wrote it on my slip, and delivered the bad news to me about not being able to donate blood due to me having gay sex. I sat there with a rush of mixed emotions.

    I honestly do NOT understand what the FDA views as "clean" blood. A straight women is just as likely to retract HIV than a gay male. I do plan to email the FDA and ask them if they would rather have a person die than save them. They have no right to talk about ethics when they still prove to have a childish mind set.
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    Feb 02, 2010 10:27 PM GMT
    Decades ago, before testing and before the virus was out in the general population, they might have been able to justify such a position. But now economic status might be a better indicator of risk.
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    Feb 02, 2010 10:28 PM GMT
    I've never understood why it's such a big deal either. They do tests to every single blood donation to make sure it is clean for use. That's why they pull 4 viles of blood along with the bag of blood to donate. I think that it is just a standard that has been around for such a long time now, it's impossible to get rid of.
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    Feb 03, 2010 12:14 AM GMT
    Fitkid saidI've never understood why it's such a big deal either. They do tests to every single blood donation to make sure it is clean for use.


    Those tests aren't 100% effective. False negatives exist, and when you're dealing with such a massive number of blood transfusions, one infection is one too many.
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    Feb 03, 2010 12:41 AM GMT
    I'm not sure how it's done in the US, but at least in other countries, blood donations aren't checked individually. Instead, samples from multiple donors are put together and tested as one, to save on the cost of the tests . If the test comes back as positive, all the donations get discarded.

    In addition, the tests are usually Elisa tests looking for antibodies, so hypothetically, someone's blood could contain the virus but not show antibodies yet.

    For these reasons, it's a statistical choice not to collect blood from higher-risk populations. In other countries, blood isn't collected from straight people who came from Africa or Britain (for fear of Mad Cow disease).

    The main difference seems to be that they actually told you up front they wouldn't accept your donation. Other countries have had scandals over taking blood and discarding it discreetly when it came from high risk groups.

    It doesn't feel right to be discriminated against, but in this case, it's mainly for statistical reasons. Until gays themselves change the statistical probability of being infected (through safe sex, etc.), the situation won't be in gay people's favor.
  • coolarmydude

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    Feb 03, 2010 12:48 AM GMT
    You can also thank the American Red Cross on this bias as they are the prominent proponents of refusing donated blood from gay men.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18827137/ Read this about the FDA's ban.

    This is a good historical perspective on how it came to be: http://www.libertyeducationforum.org/downloads/1h_whtpa_pbl00.pdf

  • thatonedude21

    Posts: 223

    Feb 03, 2010 12:49 AM GMT
    SeaSon saidI'm not sure how it's done in the US, but at least in other countries, blood donations aren't checked individually. Instead, samples from multiple donors are put together and tested as one, to save on the cost of the tests . If the test comes back as positive, all the donations get discarded.

    In addition, the tests are usually Elisa tests looking for antibodies, so hypothetically, someone's blood could contain the virus but not show antibodies yet.

    For these reasons, it's a statistical choice not to collect blood from higher-risk populations. In other countries, blood isn't collected from straight people who came from Africa or Britain (for fear of Mad Cow disease).

    The main difference seems to be that in this case they actually told you they wouldn't accept your donation up front. Other countries have had scandals over taking blood and discarding it discreetly when it came from a high risk group.

    It doesn't feel right to be discriminated against, but in this case, it's mainly for statistical reasons. Until gays themselves change the statistical probability of being infected (through safe sex, etc.), the situation won't be in gay people's favor.


    I agree with SeaSon..
    It sucks but since we are a high-risk group it probably is easier for them to just reject all homosexuals.
    I would guess that since homosexuals are a high risk group, the cost/benefit of allowing us to donate blood just isn't justified in their minds and they aren't losing much since we're a minority (right?).. or something.
    Again, this is just my assumption, and I could be wrong... lol
  • coolarmydude

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    Feb 03, 2010 12:50 AM GMT
    You know, for those familiar with the thread about racial profiling those of Middle Eastern descent for anti-terrorism, the same "racial" profiling is done to us gays for blood donations.


    They're both wrong!!!
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    Feb 03, 2010 12:52 AM GMT
    Gays are at a higher risk of carrying HIV, hence forth the denial of giving blood. Is it accurate? Technically yes.... BUT... This is based on research done years ago...
  • coolarmydude

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    Feb 03, 2010 12:55 AM GMT
    SuperSalvi saidGays are at a higher risk of carrying HIV, hence forth the denial of giving blood. Is it accurate? Technically yes.... BUT... This is based on research done years ago...


    Wait a second...

    The highest group of new HIV infections are African American women. This has been the case for about 15 years and we don't hear anything about discrimination against them. Since HIV can be detected and all blood is tested before being used, then why are we still a discriminating factor??
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    Feb 03, 2010 12:59 AM GMT
    Had you done a little research or talked to any gay man in the last 20 years, you'd have known that we've been banned from giving blood for decades. It's not a new policy, and you would have saved yourself and the poor worker an embarrassing and unnecessary situation had you listened to your BF.

    If you have a policy beef with the FDA, take it up with them.

    PS - how you made the quantum leap from the (admittedly dubious, scientifically speaking) refusal to accept blood from a 'high risk' group to saying that the FDA finds gay sex immoral and unethical is puzzling. Their policy is based on old science, not Texas law.
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    Feb 03, 2010 12:59 AM GMT
    last time i went to give blood i had intentions on lying about same-sex sex. and i went ahead and lied about it. unfortunately i told the truth about how much time i've spent abroad (cumulatively) and i got turned down... not sure if that's karma, or just obnoxious.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:03 AM GMT
    There are statistics to back this up. Don't take it personal icon_biggrin.gif

    http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/bloodbloodproducts/questionsaboutblood/ucm108186.htm
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:05 AM GMT
    badmikeyt saidPS - how you made the quantum leap from the (admittedly dubious, scientifically speaking) refusal to accept blood from a 'high risk' group to saying that the FDA finds gay sex immoral and unethical is puzzling. Their policy is based on old science, not Texas law.


    BadMikey, the OP is 19 and it's an innocent mistake...
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:09 AM GMT
    i don't get it. sure we're a high-risk population, but what about people in long-term and serious relationships and who have tested negative for HIV? it just doesn't make sense. they should at least ask follow-up questions to better determine the risk of donating.

    for a while i was thinking of becoming a bone marrow donor, but knowing that i'd get shot down for being gay i didn't even bother. it's totally ridiculous that some kid with leukemia may die even though i could be a perfect match for them. pretty @#$%ed up if you ask me.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:24 AM GMT
    heckyeah09 saidi don't get it. sure we're a high-risk population, but what about people in long-term and serious relationships and who have tested negative for HIV? it just doesn't make sense. they should at least ask follow-up questions to better determine the risk of donating.

    for a while i was thinking of becoming a bone marrow donor, but knowing that i'd get shot down for being gay i didn't even bother. it's totally ridiculous that some kid with leukemia may die even though i could be a perfect match for them. pretty @#$%ed up if you ask me.


    I wasn't asked about my sexuality when I signed up to be be a volunteer donor on the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. Where did you hear that gay's are banned from that?

    I know that you can donate organs even if you have had sex with other men. The blood shortage just isn't as serious. People aren't dying because of it.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:25 AM GMT
    This happened to me when I was 19. I was later explained why they didn't allow gay people to donate. Since all the test on the blood are done by man there is still a margin for error. Currently that margin of error is 7%. If they allow gay people to donate, it increases to 9% and that increase, in their eyes, is to high. The funny thing is that if they only allowed white people to donate, that number would drop a percentage point, but you aren't allowed to discriminate on race so they still allow all races to donate. This whole thing has nothing to do with the margin of error, it just gives them an excuse to discriminate against us once again. It will eventually change though.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:31 AM GMT
    erector17 saidThis happened to me when I was 19. I was later explained why they didn't allow gay people to donate. Since all the test on the blood are done by man there is still a margin for error. Currently that margin of error is 7%. If they allow gay people to donate, it increases to 9% and that increase, in their eyes, is to high. The funny thing is that if they only allowed white people to donate, that number would drop a percentage point, but you aren't allowed to discriminate on race so they still allow all races to donate. This whole thing has nothing to do with the margin of error, it just gives them an excuse to discriminate against us once again. It will eventually change though.


    However, had you shown up in the outfit you're wearing in your main pic, they would have taken your blood and asked for a semen sample, too.

    icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:32 AM GMT
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:37 AM GMT
    why doesn't anyone bring a lawsuit against the FDA? a class action against the FDA... get signatures from gay men and file a suit. It will go to the Supreme Court and FDA will hopefully learn a lesson.

    However, this is how they get you. Language is key in phrasing the question.

    The FDA is convinced that people who give blood may lie on the questionnaire especially on a touchy topic like "homosexuality" (i hate that word, makes me sound like an ignorant scientist). Since the 70's the paranoia (justified, I hope) around HIV and AIDS drives the FDA to believe that men who have sex with other men regardless if they are gay or not are far more likely to have an STD in their blood. So, what did the FDA do instead... it phrases it like this, in rather more general terms: if the guy about to give blood "has had sex with another man." This is so open ended and ambiguous, indeed.

    One other person has claimed that the FDA tests all the blood that they receive. Unfortunately, I don't that claim is correct. The case is that "most" blood is tested which leaves out a window for contaminated blood. There are numerous cases that people are infected with some sort of disease after they have been transfused with a donor's blood.

    Take your complaint to a lawyer and do some good for straight and gay men.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:46 AM GMT
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:47 AM GMT
    The CDC states that young black gay men, black women and white gay men in their 30s and 40s are much more likely to be newly infected with HIV than other groups.

    It is a matter of risk aversion, but unfortunately it means that gay men that want to donate and who have practiced safer sex and remained uninfected are also banned. icon_sad.gif I agree with one of the previous posters that they should ask a series of follow-up questions like "how many partners have you had sex with in the previous 12 months" or "have you had unprotected sex".

    It really does blow because I would give blood in a hearbeat. I haven't since I was 18. I guess we will have to find other outlets for humanitarian opportunities. There are plenty of other ways to help our fellow man. icon_smile.gif
  • OptimusMatt

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    Feb 03, 2010 1:51 AM GMT
    BronzeChew said
    heckyeah09 saidi don't get it. sure we're a high-risk population, but what about people in long-term and serious relationships and who have tested negative for HIV? it just doesn't make sense. they should at least ask follow-up questions to better determine the risk of donating.

    for a while i was thinking of becoming a bone marrow donor, but knowing that i'd get shot down for being gay i didn't even bother. it's totally ridiculous that some kid with leukemia may die even though i could be a perfect match for them. pretty @#$%ed up if you ask me.


    I wasn't asked about my sexuality when I signed up to be be a volunteer donor on the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. Where did you hear that gay's are banned from that?

    I know that you can donate organs even if you have had sex with other men. The blood shortage just isn't as serious. People aren't dying because of it.


    Nope, not here in Canadaland - you have to have abstained from gay sex for 5 years before you can donate an organ.

    So you know what I say to the Red Cross?

    FUCK YOU

    You want to guilt me via radio about your 'blood shortage' and then make me feel like the dirt under your feet when I give in and go to give up my red-gold O neg blood?

    Seriously, FUCK YOU

    Though I got an incredible amount of pleasure from this via the blood drive chicks who were offering 'free blood typing' tests in the waiting area after my flu shot last year. Knowing full well my blood is gold (O neg's the universal donor) I let them test me, and watched her eyes light up with delight to find such a sweet deal...and as she smiled and asked if I'd ever thought of donating blood, I replied 'Yes, I have, but I'm gay"

    I did feel bad for her - she didn't write the policy and she was quite nice, and very quick to distance her personal beliefs from Red Cross policy, but...it was VERY delicious, lol

    And before someone lambasts me about the good works the Red Cross does, you'll need blood sometime, yada yada, I will reiterate how infuriated I was when I first found this out. By the doctor telling me I couldn't donate in high school. I'm STD-free, healthier than most males my age, and WILLING TO DONATE MY BLOOD. So if the cost to run a test for a gay man's blood is too high well...you know what?

    FUCK YOU, and FUCK your "1-888-2DONATE" hotline.

    Blood shortage, eh?

    *shrugs* Tough Shit.
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:52 AM GMT
    They are afraid that if we donate blood, the receiving person will turn out gay soon after transmission... That is why they didn't let you donate...
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    Feb 03, 2010 1:58 AM GMT
    BronzeChew said
    Fitkid saidI've never understood why it's such a big deal either. They do tests to every single blood donation to make sure it is clean for use.


    Those tests aren't 100% effective. False negatives exist, and when you're dealing with such a massive number of blood transfusions, one infection is one too many.


    The person can be hiv+, but is not revealed on a test.