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More perspective on the blood donation ban

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

From the Kansas City Star

increasingly accurate tests have been developed to detect HIV in donor blood. The first tests that became available spot antibodies that the immune system produces when confronted by HIV. It usually takes two to eight weeks, but sometimes longer, for the body to make enough antibodies for the tests to detect.

A newer test can find HIV itself in the blood. This test shortens the time between infection with the virus and detection to nine to 11 days.

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Everett
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Could someone please explain to me why this issue is that important when one considers there are other issues like employment and housing discrimination, marriage/civil unions, DADT, etc. to worry about in the gay civil rights movement? This issue only affects gay men and its not as if its a quality of life issue for gay men like marriage rights or job discrimination. Yes, I understand the message of stigma that the ban on donating blood sends, but I, for one, have never once considered donating blood, and still would not even if this ban were lifted. There are still plenty of people out there who are able to donate blood, if there is a blood supply shortage, an awareness campaign can fix it.

So again, I’m not quite sure why this is such an important issue. If anything, this is such a small issue, that if the Democrats do something about it, it’ll be like them throwing the glbt community a bone (even though it only affects gay men like the HIV travel ban primarily affect gay men) and prevents the Democrats from having to accomplish REAL legislative victories on behalf of the whole glbt community.

Burr
April 5th, 2010 | LINK

Nobody is saying it’s important as a civil rights issue (and really there is no civil right to donate blood), but should we just ignore it altogether? The fact is that ALL blood banking organizations want to see it gone, and it has nothing to do with political correctness. The blood supply is nearly always teetering near shortage. Not enough people give blood and every expansion of the potential donor pool is huge. The policy is costing blood banks valuable drives at colleges and other institutions..

andrew
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

On a more fundamental level, it’s important because for generations, gays have been institutionally labelled as either criminal, dirty / disease-ridden, or both. In order to achieve our goals like gay marriage, DADT, etc., this institutional slander has to be cast down.

The Texas ruling a few years ago overturned gay-targted sodomy laws. These lawas allowed our opponents to rely on the fact that gays were engaged in criminal activity — something that was used to justify discrimination in housing and employment.

In light of the current healthcare debate, you can be sure that much has been made of the perils of gay sex. And we can argue the merits of that argument with facts.

But in the meantime, our opponents can bumpersticker it to an easy shorthand:

“Gays are so dirty, the CDC and the Red Cross won’t even take their blood. In fact, just having sex with a man once is enough to taint you for life.”

With respected organizations like those handing arguments like that to our opponents, it’s much harder to make our case on the larger fronts like employment, insurance, marriage, DADT, etc.

And that’s why it matters.

The Golem
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Given the improved meds for HIV and the much lower mortality rates resulting from infection, it may be time for the medical community to reconsider whether transfusion from a possibly infected donor is the worst option available.

occono
April 6th, 2010 | LINK

Everett: I don’t think there’s really been that much focus on this at all. It’s only been more of a hot topic recently because of a sudden push for repeal, but the rule hasn’t been nearly discussed as much as Marriage Equality or DADT….

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