Some perspective on blood donation

Timothy Kincaid

April 3rd, 2010

There is an article in the LA Times about hemophiliacs who oppose loosing the blood donation rules to allow gay men to donate blood in some circumstances. But while the human interest story was touching, what struck me were the following facts:

  • In the last 16 years, there have been nine known cases of HIV transmission caused by tainted blood.
  • The last such case was in 2002
  • In that year there were more than 13.5 million transfusions in the U.S.
  • There have been over 100,000,000 tranfusions since the last case of tained blood.

Richard W. Fitch

April 3rd, 2010

The ban made sense back in the early 80’s, at a time when the nature of AIDS/HIV was still only vaguely understood. With the advent of faster and more reliable testing, both of people and blood components, the ban is an affront to those who remain negative for years. Even the International Red Cross is squarely opposed to perpetuating the ban. Is it just due to the social conservatives, that anything related to ‘teh gays’ is repugnant??

Eddie89

April 3rd, 2010

So, let’s get this “straight”.

Any man that has had sex with another man since 1977, even once, is prohibited from donating blood in the United States. See link, HIV, AIDS

I’ve only had sex with one man, my husband of almost 14 years, and that started in 1996.

Neither of us has any diseases, we live very healthy lifestyles, non-smokers, light drinkers and we’ve been tested for HIV/AIDS several times for insurance needs, etc.

Yet, we can’t donate blood.

On the other hand, there are heterosexual college boys having sex with multiple female partners almost every day of the week and they take their blood without issue.

This is discrimination, plain and simple.

David Malcolm

April 3rd, 2010

Do they not realize that most people these days who are having tons of crazy assed sex probably don’t want to give blood anyway?

Burr

April 3rd, 2010

Just a testament to how advanced testing is nowadays..

The questionnaire is ultimately meaningless without the scientific test backing it up. When people feel the questions are unfair, it only encourages them to lie, and that’s no good for anyone, test or not. It needs to be changed to something more accurate and to the point that applies to everyone’s sexual behavior across the board.

Burr

April 3rd, 2010

The main obstacle is the FDA, and its utter slowness to react to anything, which is not limited to blood bank regulation. Not to mention its “cover your ass” bureaucratic attitude towards decision making. It’s definitely the safer call to just leave the ban as it is..

hb

April 4th, 2010

One could argue that the low level of contamination is due to the strict rules, but… one would probably be wrong.

It’s time to take a good, long, look, and change the rules.

Samuel

April 4th, 2010

Here is a total contradiction I have never understood: The FDA bans anyone who has engaged in gay sex since 1977. This covers everyone in the USA. Now the military is supposed to have the most crucial blood supply of all. Their blood pool is used in the most critical battle situation and is considered a crucial element of national defense – YET THEY WELCOME GAY BLOOD! There are obviously gay soldiers plus others such as Marine Cpl Matt Sanchez who acted in numerous gay porn flicks (before enlisting in the Marines). Remember, HIV testing has nothing to do with this because the FDA, Red Cross, etc all have access to the same tests as every military branch.

Matt

April 4th, 2010

Back in the mid-90s–when I first came out–my straight housemate seemed to have a different woman over every 2-3 weeks and he was also one of those regular blood donors who gave as often as allowed.

Prior to coming out–as uncomfortable as I was donating (I am really bad with needles), I gave as often as I could tolerate since I am O+. After I came out, I refused to lie, so I stopped giving. When I have not been single, I have always been serially monogamous, with HIV tests at the beginning of each new relationship. I know that they test the supply and it really pisses me off that I can’t give blood.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Red Cross put blood mobiles at college Spring Break destinations, with all of the bed-hopping that goes on there, but I can’t give without lying even though I have been in a relationship now for over four years.

If they drop the ban, I will start giving again.

Fred in the UK

April 5th, 2010

@Samuel

Now the military is supposed to have the most crucial blood supply of all.,

The blood supply of the military is the most vulnerable to shortages. Its easy to imagine a surprise attack by the enemy leading to a bloody battle in a distant theatre of war. In civilian life back in the US, the demand for blood is a lot less volatile and its easier to move it, from areas of surplus to areas of demand in time. Also I suspect, that in the military there are fewer patient’s whose need for transfusion is debatable compared with in civilian life i.e. military doctors have much less option to be relatively conservative with their use of blood in times of shortage.

Given the above policies that make modest reductions in complications of blood transfusions (including infections) at the expense of making reliable blood supplies more difficult may, on balance, do more good than harm in civilian hospitals but not in military ones.

Lukas

April 6th, 2010

I don’t really care that there’s a blood donation ban in place…. If they don’t want my blood, that’s fine. Then they should stop bitching and complaining about blood shortages. Plain and simple.

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