Friday, July 31, 2009

I Guess Beggars Can Be Choosers...When It Comes To Blood

Via Slog's Morning News [07/31/09]:
Hungry for Blood: Puget Sound Blood Center needs type O, stat.
For the record, my blood type is O negative. That is the universal blood type; anyone can receive my blood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a policy in place that forbids men who have sex with other men from donating blood. Excerpts from their website:
"Men who have had sex with other men, at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion."

"A history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for the presence of and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. FDA's policy is intended to protect all people who receive blood transfusions from an increased risk of exposure to potentially infected blood and blood products."

"Current scientific data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that, as a group, men who have sex with other men are at a higher risk for transmitting infectious diseases or HIV than are individuals in other risk categories. While statistics indicate a rising infection rate among young heterosexual women, their overall rate of HIV infection remains much lower than in men who have sex with other men."

"FDA's policies on donor deferral for history of male sex with males date back to 1983, when the risk of AIDS from transfusion was first recognized. Our current policy has been in place since 1992."
My own father adamantly told me that if he were in charge, he wouldn't let me donate either.

1 comment:

  1. Of all the short-sighted, narrow-minded, not to mention stupid restrictions on blood donation...

    Some of the restrictions I can understand - but if you rule out donors who are men who have sex with other men, then you should rule out anyone male or female who has had sex with anyone at all.


    I think that the restriction on folks who ate beef in Britain during the height of the Mad Cow outbreak from being blood donors makes much more sense.

    I can say with out a doubt that if, heaven forbid, I should need blood for a procedure I would much rather have blood from a sexually active gay man than from a 70 year old virginal nun who may have been exposed to TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy) by having eaten an infected animal.

    Removing healthy and willing potential donors from the donation pool is shortsighted and dangerous.