"Radical queer provocateurs" in Portland, Maine, Infoshop Newsreports, have kicked off a parodical poster campaign to protest the treatment of gay and bisexual men who wish to donate blood.
Any man who has engaged in any sexual activity with another man since 1977 is barred from donating blood in the United States. The policy, adopted by the Food and Drug Administration in 1983, has been upheld despite repeated challenges from the community at large. Gay and bisexual men, regardless of current HIV status, are automatically classified as "high risk" individuals for the purpose of determining blood donation eligibility.
"Instead of using blood drives as an opportunity for free, anonymous, confidential, non-compulsory HIV testing for all people, since all blood entering hospitals, research labs, blood banks, etc must be tested anyways," the article charges, "the American Red Cross has chosen to exclude already marginalized populations under the guise of public health and safety."
The American Red Cross has in the past fought the FDA to ease the blanket restriction. A proposed change in September of 2000 would have modified the policy to allow a gay or bisexual man to donate blood after abstaining 12 months, in line with its policy towards commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users. While the Red Cross' opposition to that change, breaking with the American Association of Blood Banks and America's Blood Centers, prevented the change from taking place, it told the FDA's Blood Products Advisory Committee in March of 2006 that the blanket ban was "no longer medically and scientifically warranted."
"The continued requirement for a deferral standard seen as scientifically marginal and unfair or discriminatory by individuals with identified characteristics may motivate them to actively ignore the prohibition and provide blood collection facilities with less accurate information," the Red Cross warned the FDA in a joint statement. Regardless, the FDA reiterated the policy in May of 2007.
4. I guess the AIDS you get from gay sex is yuckier than the sex you get from sharing a heroin needle?
Because Gay-AIDS turns you gay, but Heroin-AIDS just makes you want to watch Gilligan's Island and cry all day long, and Sex-Worker-AIDS just makes you carry a giant duffel bag around while wearing high-heels.
18. But they need gay men's blood, and THEY discriminate, which means they DO discriminate
against everyone, when they run short of blood. Perhaps if EVERYONE stopped giving blood, then they would be forced to change their policies. It's insane that they are willing to risk people's lives because of this bigotry. Especially when they are supposed to test all blood for HIV anyway, then it's very plainly nothing but bigotry that makes them refuse gay men's blood.
2. "... in line with its policy towards commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users..."
Edited on Thu Jul-17-08 11:52 AM by IanDB1
The American Red Cross has in the past fought the FDA to ease the blanket restriction. A proposed change in September of 2000 would have modified the policy to allow a gay or bisexual man to donate blood after abstaining 12 months, in line with its policy towards commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users. http://pageoneq.com/news/2008/Blood_drive_posters_No_fa...
and always (loudly) vocalizes how stupid and antiquated this rule is. The last time, he went a little further and when asked if he had paid for sex, his response was, "Does dinner and a movie count?" I'm sure they probably disposed of his blood....
7. The "reasonable" change is to compare all gay and bisexual men with prostitutes and druggies?
Straight black women are the fastest growing segment of America to have HIV. At current rates, straight black women will be just as likely to have HIV infection as gay and bisexual men. Try this on for size:
Straight black women are banned from giving blood unless they had abstained from sex for the past 12 months, in line with regulations regarding commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users.
Can you imagine the outcry over that one?
But, of course, it is all so different when discussing men who have sex with men.
8. SO Ludicrous, But I Give Blood Anyway, And Willingly Lie.
I refuse to stop saving lives because some asshole bureaucrats with their heads up their asses force me to compromise my dignity in the process. Those lives are worth more than my dignity, and they're worth a hell of a lot more than the Red Cross' antiquated, homophobic bullshit.
However, that's a personal decision, and I can certainly understand those who refuse to compromise who they are.
Because not every male in my sexual history is totally straight. I've never been exposed to anything, my testing is all clean, and while I'm all about making a statement, I'm an HLA donor, and my blood is used to do extra-close matches for cancer patients and others who have required multiple transfusions, so I'm not going to risk those recipients suffering due to ass-covering homophobic stupidity.
13. I'm straight, and can't donate anymore because they screened
my blood and found the antigens for Hep A,B&C. I was in demand because I had Hep B antigens and they are worth some money in the hematological scheme of things so they can make Hep B vaccine. Hep C knocked me right out of the system, in fact, although I was a regular donor, I am kind of glad they found it. I would be mortified to find out I had passed the disease on to someone else and possibly killing them.
About this proactive stance the RC has come up with, I see it more as a publicity situation, even though all blood is screened for various items, to include, but not limited to Hepatitis, HIV and active AIDS, there could be serious consequences should the public become frightened to the point of hysteria about blood donations.
I do not agree it is the correct approach, many GLB individuals are entirely devoid of any blood-borne pathogen, and their willingness to save lives by donating should be encouraged, not denied. In fact, since all blood is screened anyway, it could help to save lives, mainly the donors who are infected and don't know it. By early detection, I think many lives could be made better and saved.
I know of a few gay & straight men and women here on DU that have HIV/AIDS. They are living fine lives, even somewhat better ones knowing they have the disease. After all, knowledge brings with it a great power. A few work in clinics and other institutions that help victims through some very trying times, they have worked tirelessly to perform virtual miracles for their clients. Thier compassion and empathy cannot be overstated.
All things considered, I think the RC is handling this poorly.
19. I'm permanently deferred from donation because of my ex's false-positive HIV test 20 yrs ago
My ex and i used to donate blood regularly, until there was a mix-up once, and his 'test' vial came back HIV+. He and i both went to our personal physician and had an assortment of tests done at different labs, which all came back negative. Nevertheless, the Red Cross was not willing to either accept the documented word of these other labs as proof of their mistake, nor were they willing to do retests themselves.
Now both he and i are on their 'permanent deferment' list, which bugs the shit out of me, because i know darn well that i am healthy, and that there is always a need for O- blood.
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