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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:09 PM
Original message
Today I was prevented from saving a life
Let me preface this by saying that this essay has nothing to do, other than perhaps tangentially, with the health care bill, the public option, single payer, or any of the other contentious issues making up the current debate. Instead, it centers around one of the parts of government policy that hasn't been getting the attention it deserves, and one that can be fixed right now, without the need for Congress to intervene.

My good friend Brett is suffering from Hodgkin's' Disease. He's been fighting it for most of the decade I've known him, and is now finishing up a round of chemo to fight off his fifth recurrence of the cancer. He received a bone marrow transplant two years, but it was an imperfect match and now he needs another one. The first "match" took over a year to find, and this time around he doesn't have a year.

The local Moose Lodge organized a bone marrow drive for him, and most of us who know him went to get tested today. I'd been told how painful the testing process could be, but I wasn't really worried about that. I also knew that the odds of my being a match for him were long ones at best, but that my data would be in the national registry for 20 years to come, and I stood a fair chance of being called upon to donate for someone else, so I could do some good by going out and getting tested this afternoon.

As my civil partner (for those of you who don't like my using the term "husband") Bryan and I both took the forms and sat down to start filling them out. He pulled out a pen and started scribbling away, but as I tend to be much more cautious I sat reading the fine print on the front. It wasn't 30 seconds before I tapped him on the shoulder and told him to stop filling out the form. "We're not eligible."

He stared at me and asked what I was talking about. So did Brett's mother, who just happened to be working the table we'd be sent to. I pointed out the section at the bottom of the front page that listed all of the classes of people that the FDA bans from donating bone marrow. The usual suspects were there, the gamut of diseases that you can pass through marrow, but down at the bottom was a category we hadn't really expected to see.

It turns out that if you're a man, and have had sex with another man even once within the past five years, you're automatically banned from donating.

Brett's mother snatched the form out of my hands and went to talk to the organizer. She knows us very well. Bryan and I have been together for 17 years as of a week ago. We're HIV negative, have never had a blood transfusion or used drugs (intravenous or otherwise), and to top it off we've been monogamous that whole 17 years, so we should be two of the people least likely to transmit HIV through our bone marrow. Still, as the organizer confirmed, the FDA still holds to its insane regulations from the mid 1980's that ban gay men from donating bone marrow and blood.

In this day and age, this ban makes next to no sense. It doesn't identify actual high-risk behavior, just a category that once upon a time was considered the main source of HIV. And with improved screening processes and tests done today, there's next to no chance of transmitting HIV accidentally through a medical procedure. An infected blood donation can be intercepted almost immediately, and a bone marrow donor can be prevented from giving before the process even starts. There is no real reason to automatically eliminate an entire class of people when there are ways of preventing spreading the infection that don't lead to worsening the regular shortages of blood found in various regions of this country, or lead to those who can be saved with a Bone Marrow Transplant dying for lack of a donor.

Worst of all, the ban on gay men who have had sex within the past five years doesn't eliminate the most at-risk class. Gay men, as the first group really devastated by AIDS in the early and mid 1980's, caught on to prevention very quickly. We learned the most common disease vectors, shunned risky behaviors, and really led the fight for education and prevention while the policy of not only the government but the average person on the street was to stick our proverbial head up in the proverbial sand. If the FDA was serious about shunning classes of people at risk for HIV infection, they would ban young black women from donating since they're now the fastest growing sector. If the FDA were to do that, there would be such an outcry that the people who tried to enforce that regulation would end up on the bread line in the morning. As it should be, because like I said modern screening and testing render such a ban unnecessary.

I can't guarantee that my bone marrow would match someone who needed it, but if it did then that person stands a better chance of dying than they would have if I had been allowed to put my name on the registry. There could be a gay man out there somewhere who would be a match for my friend Brett. Or someone's mother. Or father. Or child. Every Christmas and right after natural disasters we keep hearing about hospitals running low on supplies of blood. I gave regularly throughout college and would still be giving today if the regulations made any sense. But thanks to those outdated rules the local hospital has one pint less this month, and probably a lot more than just one because I know I'm not the only gay man in town who would give blood regularly if allowed to.

The time has long since passed for the FDA to take a serious look at these regulations and rewrite them to make more sense. Kathleen Sebelius could order a review of the rules tomorrow if she wanted to. So could the President. It's not a Federal law stopping us from giving, it's an antiquated and outdated rule set by the FDA. Hopefully someone in Washington will come to their senses and do something to help save some lives now, without having to wait for cloture in the Senate.

I only pray that my friend, and the other people this change would help, make it that long.

2009 2,000 Monkeys With Typewriters, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
I absolutely agree

Skittles
longtime blood / platelet donor
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Yep. It is insane. Plenty of risky behavior among the whole population that's not excluded.
K&R
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. I understood the original exclusion, when much was unknown
but Pab S is correct - we are far advanced now and should have relaxed that exclusion years ago
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. Yep
And there is a nasty cultural side to the fact that it hasn't been relaxed. Ignorant, culturally ingrained scapegoating is a dangerous problem in our society. And sad.


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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. I am so sorry you were stopped...
And I agree completely with your thoughts.

K&R

:hug:

I wish your friend well.

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Irishonly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R
I am sorry. The silliness of this stupid policy just sucks.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
5. Stupid of me to suggest perhapsebecause I'm not gay but
why couldn't you just lie? Tell them you haven't!
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Like I said, the recipient's mother who was running the table knew us very well.
Of course, I could have just told her that we'd essentially been married for the past 17 years, which probably would have implied that we hadn't had sex for at least the past five.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. That or don't you really think the mother would have kept quiet
about what she knew? I think it's quite foolish of the people designing the questionair to even state that as a restriction. How the hell do you prove it? You can test for diabetes and lots of diseases, but geeze this is like saying if you weren't monogamous with your husband or wife you can't donate. You can't prove that either!
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Rimshot.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I need to look on the bright side of this all
or else I'm going to start crying and/or screaming.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. I'm sorry and I concur.
I know that as much as I wish to succumb to the feeling of hopelessness and start weeping about everything that's screwed up in my world, I realize I'll only end up with a headache and puffy eyes.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Jimmy Buffet had it right.
"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane."
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Maraya1969 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:47 AM
Response to Reply #19
41. Can you go somewhere else, separately and say you're straight?
Or if they find out about the gay thing tell them you are impotent and have high blood pressure so you can't take viagra. That last one might be stupid but if you went to a blood bank, (I don't know if they take marrow) and put his name on your sample maybe it could get tested.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #19
63. This is unbelievable
Rec
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
32. Ok that was funny.
What is it about the 12-15 year mark where "I love you but can I have my own room" is so common. LOL
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #32
60. Frank DeCaro put it best.
"There's a very short trip from 'get me off' to 'get off me.'"
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 04:11 AM
Response to Reply #14
42. DUzy. nt
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 06:16 AM
Response to Reply #14
47. lol
still laughing at that one. single for over 20 years now and lonely for well, over 5, i feel better now. i hope you're just kidding though. someone should be getting it.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #5
36. You Should Not Have to Treat Being Gay Like a Dirty Secret In Order to Save a Life.
I have been donating blood every three months for over 20 years. When I get to the question about having sex with a man, even once, since 1977, I lie. Because I feel that my pride is less important than saving a life. The policy against gay men giving blood is just as stupid, baseless and rooted in fear and ignorance now as it was when it was first implemented. I have zero problem ignoring it.

However, I know MANY gay men who are not willing to lie about who they are for ANY reason, and I don't condemn them for it. There is no medical reason to prohibit gay men from giving blood, and we should not have to lie to do so.

I work in an office building of close to 500 people. Every blood drive, we get about 35 donors. 35. And our government is still turning willing people away due to nothing more than prejudice and ignorance.

People die due to blood shortages. But our government would rather let them die then treat gay people with dignity.

The dignity to give blood. The dignity to serve honestly in the military. The dignity to form a legal family. All these are denied to gay people because our leaders are too cowardly and morally bankrupt to stand up and say that gay people are human beings with the same rights as any other.

THAT'S why some people won't "just lie".

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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
6. k and r--thank you for posting this-the short-sighted stupidity of the medical system is almost
beyond belief. thank you so much for being willing to be a donor--and here is hoping that your friend finds the right match in time.

by the way, congrats on your anniversary. I hope you and your husband had a wonderful celebration.

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abelenkpe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. k & r
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Rick Myers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. This is crazy.
How long ago was that FDA reg written? That, and alot of health care in Amerika, is screwed up...
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
9. there is so much of this crap in every dept in the government
it would take years to clean up.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
11. "young black women"
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Exactly.
Risky behavior on the part of black males, especially those on the "down low" has led to a huge increase in infections among heterosexual black women. Even married, monogamous, heterosexual women.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #15
26. Not.
What a well written, thoughtful piece right up to SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH the needle is ripped from the groove. The reader might infer from your words that you are referring to "young black women... since they're now the fastest growing sector," who have been infected due to "Risky behavior on the part of black males, especially those on the "down low" which you did not mention until the followup post.

So, perhaps the OP might read "If the FDA was serious about shunning classes of people at risk for HIV infection, they would ban black males, especially those on the "down low" whose risky behavior has led to a huge increase in infections among heterosexual black women. Even married, monogamous, heterosexual women."

And then "If the FDA were to do that, there would be such an outcry that the people who tried to enforce that regulation would end up on the bread line in the morning. As it should be, because like I said modern screening and testing render such a ban unnecessary."

So why not state the case more directly and why shift the focus to young black women and why shift the focus to black people at all?


"There is no real reason to automatically eliminate an entire class of people when there are ways of preventing spreading the infection that don't lead to worsening the regular shortages of blood found in various regions of this country, or lead to those who can be saved with a Bone Marrow Transplant dying for lack of a donor."

Given the above premise and the tone of the whole OP, the veering off course into race/gender land was a major distraction. It didn't do justice to the spirit and the eloquence of your essay. Best wishes to your friend on finding a match. I'm sorry you weren't allowed to help.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 05:15 AM
Response to Reply #26
43. how about, god forbid, some STATISTICS
on both sides. i hear all these opinions about a matter as to relative risk, etc. and nobody posts the #'s. what percentage of gay men have HIV? what percentage of straight, non IV drug using men? what percentage of black women? what percentage of? etc etc

otherwise, it's just a bunch of people talking smack and not backing it up

whether or not race, gender, or orientation is relevant is a matter of statistics. which nobody seems willing to mention for some strange reason

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #26
45. I agree completely. It veered off to gratuitous and actually factually inaccurate issues
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 06:08 AM by HamdenRice
Actual stats:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/FastFacts-MSM-...

Gay men, black and white are still overwhelmingly the largest risk group. The idea that because AIDS hit the gay community first, they immediately began to reduce the risk through safe practices is absurd; in fact there was a holocaust of death in the 80s and early 90s, and despite the good efforts that were made, the disease became endemic in the community. I'm not saying that this justifies the ban, but that the OP's view of risk groups is dead wrong.

Excluding people is done by a blunt instrument -- large risk group categories. I can't donate because I was in England during the mad cow era and lived in Africa, even though I'm hiv negative. That's just the way public health works.

Spreading malicious stereotypes of one group is not the way to end stereotyping of another group -- a lesson one would have thought should already have been learned on this forum:

http://www.blackqueerradical.com/stories/health-10.19.0...

(Oct. 19) Straight black men with multiple sex partners are responsible for the extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS among black women, not men on the Down Low, according to Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) official.

The majority of these infections are not coming from men who are behaviorally bisexualbut these are men that are having multiple sexual partners with women, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

He also attributed the disproportionately high rate of HIV/AIDS among black women to intravenous drug use by their heterosexual male partners.



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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #45
56. With respect to bone marrow donations
Travel to a mad cow disease area does not exclude you from being tested. At least the registry I am part of adopts the HIV guidelines, but not the travel guidelines from blood donor rules.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. Sorry, I meant I cannot donate blood. I never tried to register to donate marrow. nt
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #57
62. I was just clarifying - not criticizing
Organ donation has always been very important to me, and even more so since we learned last year my daughter will likely need a liver during her lifetime.

Most people assume the criteria is the same and many don't check the organ donor box on their driver's license application based on the assumption that since they cannot donate blood they also cannot donate their organs (or bone marrow). Men who have had sex with other men are not excluded from being organ donors (even though they are excluded from bone marrow registries). Travel and piercings do not exclude potential donors from either marrow or organ donations.

My comment was made in the hope of encouraging people barred from blood donation to still consider donation of other body parts.
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 06:39 AM
Response to Reply #26
48. HIV/AIDS is the number one cause of death for African American
women aged 24-35. This is a fact. This makes the claim that gay men are not allowed to donate due to risk factors to be obviously false, if it were not, that rule would be applied to other groups, especially those with a higher rate of new infection. The rule against gay men is clearly homophobic, if it is not based on equally applied factors of risk. Does that not make sense to you?
In addition, I'll say that African American women have been bearing a huge brunt of the HIV/AIDS crisis from the very first. Men as well, and other minorities as well, but black women have been in the top infection rates for the duration. I first learned this over 20 years ago. It is almost never spoken out loud. Any time these facts come to the public eye, a life might be saved. This is how I see it. You do not wish to look at actual stats, that reveal both homophobia and racism, because you are afraid of what? Ruffling some feathers? Being misunderstood? The facts should not be stated, or should be altered for public consumption?
Silence=Death. Knowledge = Life. And your vote is for silence. Not mine, no way, never was, and will not be.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #48
52. Misleading statistic and an erroneous overall view of the prevalence of the disease
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 08:47 AM by HamdenRice
That's because among all population groups, people aged 24-35 rarely die. (Incidentally, that's why the "shocking" statistic that the leading causes of death among black men is homicide and among white men is suicide and accidents is also somewhat misleading -- they reflect the fact that few people in this age group die of natural causes, like diseases.)

So the fact that AIDS is a major cause of death among black women in that age group, is not the same as saying that HIV is highly prevalent among African American women. The leading causes of death among African Americans, including African American women, are heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The only number that counts in terms of the safety of blood donation is prevalence -- how many people in this group have the virus right now, and what are the chances that a person in this group is HIV+ and could transmit the virus to a blood recipient?

So a stat that says, eg, that black women are 18 times more likely than white women to be HIV+ obscures the fact that white women have extremely, extremely low rates of prevalence (around five one hundredths of one percent, or .05%), and multiplying that low number by 18 does not result in a prevalence rate as high as the prevalence rate in other risk groups.

The prevalence rate is highest among black men who have sex with men (MSM), followed by white MSM. According to several studies, the difference is not because of differences in behavior between black MSM and white MSM; it is because of prevalence itself. Once a disease becomes endemic in a community within which members mostly limit themselves for sexual partners, the prevalence rate becomes self-reinforcing. In other words, black gay men have mainly as partners other black gay men within a community where the disease has become endemic. Similarly, among white gay men, partner choice within the gay community is a major contributor to the spread of the disease.

Among all MSM, the prevalence rate remains extremely and disturbingly high -- 17%-25% in American cities. Studies show that about half are unaware of their HIV+ status. MSM are still about 70% of all AIDS cases, and MSM with HIV continue to constitute about 50% of all people living with HIV, and about 50% of all new infections. MSM are unfortunately the only demographic group in which infection rates are currently rising, with sero-conversion rates of between 2% and 4% per year with very young black gay men and thirty-something and forty-something white gay men being hardest hit.

The prevalence rate in general for the US population is low and falling. The overall prevalence rate is less than 1% -- about .4% The prevalence rate for African Americans is 1.7%, for black women it's 1.1% and black men about 2.4% (which reflects the epidemic among black gay men).

To put this in perspective, the probability that a potential gay male blood donor is HIV+ is around 1 in 4 to 1 in 5; the probability that a black woman blood donor is HIV+ is around 1 in 100. (The reason that simple blood tests aren't sufficient to screen these people out is the risk of false negatives -- especially among the recently infected.)

So, while the spread of the disease among black women is alarming and must be stopped, there is no comparison in terms of prevalence with gay men, and therefore no comparison in terms of the risk of blood donations.

Unfortunately, your view of the statistics is mostly erroneous.

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/301/1/27

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/FastFacts-MSM-...

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5424a2.htm
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #48
89. Please don't project
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 03:14 PM by omega minimo
your canned assumptions and attitudes on this poster, whose point you missed.

Thank you.

This knee jerk stuff prevents open discussion.
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
28. Yes, young black women.
I'm sorry OM, but we're talking pure facts and actuarial tables here. Young, lower income, black women are statistically more likely to be at risk of HIV than middle aged affluent white gay men in long term monogamous relationships. It's not because I like it or think it's right, it's not. It just is. Life insurance companies (as I mentioned in my response) and blood and bone marrow banks are arbitrarily discriminating against gay men. As the OP stated, there is extensive testing available to identify problems.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. and the subtext
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PJPhreak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R nt
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
13. Congress members have a riskier lifestyle than most gay men these days
With all the tales of members of Congress trying to pick up complete strangers for sex, they are more likelier to be exposed to HIV or other diseases.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
20. Was "Went to a whore house in Thailand." on there too?
I'm actually OK with the ban on gay men from donating- as a group we're not the lowest risk bunch to be hooked up to on IV, and not just from HIV. But it does seem like the effort to keep the pool clean isn't exactly equal opportunity.

Some Navy guy who stopped in Thailand, or some Army guy who went whoring in Berlin, or some Air Force guy stationed in Kenya or wherever it is that we have our African bases isn't going to think of himself as high risk for anything. After all, one look in the mirror and he sees Health, and he probably won't even read the fine print. If it's some "woman of the world" who has been fucking her way through grad school at all the best places, will she consider herself high risk? If it's Hepatitis that kills you (and it can be a lot quicker than AIDS) does it really matter if you caught it from a straight guy or a straight woman?
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #20
59. Those guys are actually barred as well -
The questions include whether you have ever paid anyone for sex - but the ban is only a year. (Sex workers are banned permanently.)
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #59
98. lol So the Senate and their wives can't donate. (Say it like Caligula, is sounds more dramatic.)
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
21. What a ridiculous situation.
Here you are, an honest person who simply wants to help someone, and you're prevented from doing so because you have a same sex partner.

Civil rights affects all of us, and a lot of us who happen to be straight are hoping that this discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters finally comes to an end one day. Sooner rather than later.

Thanks for your post and your attempted act of kindness.
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winyanstaz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
22. It is past time for some sanity to return to our nation....
and for stupid rules to be thrown out.
Lives are at stake...sheesh. Can't we do better then what we are doing?
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
25. K and R. It's ridiculous.
I worked in insurance briefly and was astonished by the blatant discrimination allowed in an industry that was supposedly based on a steely-eyed interpretation of actuarial tables. It was totally okay to charge straight men more for life insurance and deny gay men coverage entirely, but you couldn't even disclose the race or socio-economic status of applicants, which has a lot more impact on mortality, than gender or sexual orientation. I'm not saying that because I like or approve of that situation, it's just the plain fact. I can see where it would be the same with blood and bone marrow donation.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
27. I'm sorry you guys hit that wall. It's based on these guidelines from the CDC,
which virtually all donor screening centers, med centers, etc follow. CDC is extremely risk-adverse to infection possibilities and promotes limiting infection exposure risks. And the private sector of the process is extremely risk-adverse to legal possibilities and promotes limiting legal exposure risks.

The last paragraph in this snip, from a long CDC report, bodes well for change, however glacially it may occur ~ pinto

*************************************

Guidelines for Preventing Opportunistic Infections Among Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients
October 20, 2000

The medical history of the prospective HSCT donor should include the following:

Past medical history that indicates the donor has clinical evidence of or is at high risk for acquiring a bloodborne infection (e.g., HIV-1 or -2, human T-lymphotropic virus -I or -II, hepatitis C, or hepatitis B) (381,383), including

* men who have had sex with another man during the preceding 5 years (381,383) (BIII);

* persons who report nonmedical intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection of drugs during the preceding 5 years (381) (BIII);

* persons with hemophilia or related clotting disorders who have received human-derived clotting factor concentrates (381) (BIII);

* persons who have engaged in sex in exchange for money or drugs during the preceding 5 years (381) (BIII);

* persons who have had sex during the preceding 12 months with any person described previously (381) or with a person known or suspected to have HIV (381) or hepatitis B infections (BIII);

* persons who have been exposed during the preceding 12 months to known or suspected HIV, hepatitis B- or C-infected blood through percutaneous inoculation or through contact with an open wound, nonintact skin, or mucous membrane (381) (BIII);

* inmates of correctional systems (379--381) and persons who have been incarcerated for >72 consecutive hours during the previous 12 months (BIII);

* persons who have had or have been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea during the preceding 12 months (376,379,380) (BIII); and

* persons who within 12 months have undergone tattooing, acupuncture, ear or body piercing (380,400,401) in which shared instruments are known to have been used (BIII) or other nonsterile conditions existed.

Persons reporting any of these past medical histories should be excluded from donation (DIII).

The following serologic tests should be performed for each prospective donor:

* HIV-1 antigen, anti-HIV-1 and -2, anti-HTLV-I and -II, hepatitis B surface antigen, total antihepatitis B core antigen, antihepatitis C, anti-CMV, and a serologic test for syphilis (376,379,380,383) (AIII). Potential donors who have repeatedly reactive screening tests for HIV-1 antigen, anti-HIV-1 or -2, anti-HTLV-I or -II, antihepatitis C, hepatitis B surface antigen, or antihepatitis B core antigen should be excluded as HSCT donors (381) (EII). Persons who refuse infectious disease testing should also be excluded as HSCT donors (381) (EIII).

* Investigational nucleic acid tests to detect hepatitis C virus RNA and HIV RNA are currently being used in the United States to screen blood donors and could be used for screening HSCT donors. If nucleic acid tests are approved by FDA, these tests should be incorporated into routine screening regimens for HSCT donors. When nucleic acid testing is done for HIV and hepatitis C investigationally, a positive result should exclude the potential donor.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4910a1.htm
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
30. Reaching for the health provider hat
there is a reason why you are banned... and why vets from the gulf war, either of them, or Afghanistan are also banned. (In the case of vets is the chance they got infected with a little cute bug that makes their blood useless)

The reasons are not stupid, and though you and many other couples are faithful to each other, there is a percentage (both gay and straight) that are not. Oh and that will also lie. Granted, they could remove them, because they are supposed to test the blood or marrow anyway for a multitude of diseases...

If it makes you feel better, if I wanted to donate blood in Mexico, where I used to regularly as a medic, at times at five in the morning and then run calls, since I take medicines for diabetes (never mind they can be filtered) due to the cost involved. they will not take my blood. And in the US, it really depends.. according to my doc I can donate, but I am not sure they will tell me yes.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #30
37. I Sure Hope You're Not a Health Provider In MY Area.
If you really believe there is a valid reason to prevent gay men from donating blood or bone marrow, just because they've had sex, you're a shitty "health care provider".
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #37
84. It is not what I believe. It is what the CDC believes
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 02:01 PM by nadinbrzezinski
and the reasons are solid... they have to do with AIDS HIV and a few other beauts. They also exclude drug users... and as I said, the reasons are valid. They could remove them, since they developed all the tests, but take the issue with CDC.

Oh and one last thing I always assume a patient has a slew of potential lethal diseases... Has nothing to do with who they are, or what they do... and always TOOK universal precautions while in the field. It is a good practice for all involved. So do you want health care providers to go to the good ol' days of not using gloves when handling bodily fluids for example?

Jeesus age people confuse health policy based on statistics and the prevalence of certain diseases in certain populations with bigotry... take it up with the statistics... truth is the chances of HIV Aids in blood from gay men is higher than in the general population. That is the TRUTH even today. Not my belief... but STATISTICAL information...

Here are other groups that cannot donate blood...

Hep patients

If you have ever taken a vaccine for Rabies.

Patients with any immunosupressed disease.

Patients taking certain drugs.

As I said vets of the armed forces who have been to the sand box

Does that mean that the system is also discriminating against them?
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #84
96. The Red Cross Disagrees With You.
They've been fighting this bigoted ban for years. But I guess you know more than they do about how to keep the blood supply safe.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #96
99. The ARC has been in the midst of a few scandals
involving the safety of the blood supply

So I would hardly use them as an example.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #99
102. Ah, So You ARE Claiming To Be More Of An Expert On Keeping the Blood Supply Safe.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #102
104. I wil repeat this, not me CDC
Centers for Disease Control... THEY are the ones who establish the protocols

The ARC has violated a few.

So I will ask you the same. You are the one who claims more expertise than the CDC?

Read again... Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. this is THEIR JOB. So you claim to be more of an expert than CDC?

I certainly don't.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 06:31 AM
Response to Reply #96
110. The Red Cross wants to ban donations by all MSMs who are sexually active
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 06:35 AM by HamdenRice
See post 109 below. They would maintain the exclusion on donations from any man who has had sex with another man in the past year.

The reason is that HIV prevalence remains disturbingly high among MSMs (17%-25%) as does the annual sero-conversion rate (2%-4%), and because some HIV infections can't be detected for a several month "window" allowing unrestricted donations would probably lead to some level of blood born infection.

A ban on donations by any MSM who has been sexually active within the last year, but not a life time ban is what the Red Cross is advocating -- and it makes sense because any infected person who has not had sex within one year would have a very, very low rate of false negative on HIV tests.
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #30
49. So how do you explain the fact that while discriminating against
gay men, they take donations from other very high risk groups? From in fact the group that leads the nation in new infections, and can call HIV/AIDS their number one cause of death?
If it is about risk, why is it not about that risk? The logic does not play out at all. It is all about bigotry. If it were about risk, all risk would be treated equally.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #49
55. There's no comparison in terms of risk. Your stats are wrong. See post 52. nt
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #49
85. Do they take them from drug users? NO
take it up with CDC.

Do they take it from gulf war vets? NO.

Take it up with CDC.

They come with guidelines that in general have a good solid reason for them. They change guidelines, SLOWLY only when new info comes about.

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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:44 PM
Response to Original message
31. Damn! As far as I am concerned Bryan is your husband!
If people are offended by it then they are the ones with the problem.

You are right the FDA needs to reevaluate this restriction.

Best wishes to Bryan! He is lucky to have you and family to support him.
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DU GrovelBot  Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
33. ## PLEASE DONATE TO DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND! ##



This week is our fourth quarter 2009 fund drive. Democratic Underground is
a completely independent website. We depend on donations from our members
to cover our costs. Please take a moment to donate! Thank you!

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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-21-09 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
34. I was 100% with you, until one paragraph:
Edited on Sat Nov-21-09 11:49 PM by Deja Q
"Gay men, as the first group really devastated by AIDS in the early and mid 1980's, caught on to prevention very quickly. We learned the most common disease vectors, shunned risky behaviors, and really led the fight for education and prevention while the policy of not only the government but the average person on the street was to stick our proverbial head up in the proverbial sand."

Which doesn't explain why it's still such a big issue in our "community". http://www.lgf.org.uk/survey-shows-increase-in-gay-men-... / People not taking risks need not take tests. If they trusted who they were with, they would not need tests. (plenty of sites exists -- the problem is real and unlike your claim, it's not getting any better.)


I too used to believe in the monogamy claim, but over a decade of putting in personal ads I didn't want one-night stands and the rest of it, right down to once even making a dummy account just to make sure I wasn't misreading into the "community", there are still plenty who certainly have not shunned a single damn thing, so please don't try to romanticize the situation with grandiose generalizations. They're not 100% true.

Just sayin'. Sorry I can't agree. I genuinely would like to.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 12:54 AM
Response to Original message
35. When the ban was instituted, there was no real test for the virus, itself
but they can test for the virus now so it makes no sense. It's just a bad habit, like other stupid bad habits like the Cuba Embargo or the War on Drugs. It's obsolete and it isn't an effective way to screen.

I suspect it's been kept on more out of habit than harassment, although the later is certainly possible.

If there's a next time, lie. After all, I have taken care of a lot of infected straight couples as well as healthy gay couples.
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KitSileya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #35
38. Exactly! In Norway, every new blood donor
has a gamut of tests performed before the first time he or she donates blood, and in the questionnaire that must be filled out every time, you consent to HIV testing. This is done randomly, and once every year when they also test your iron reserves. However, IIRC, they also do have the "if you are a man, have you had sex with another man since 1977?" question. I don't know if you're summarily discarded if you say yes, tho'. I do know that you're put on hold for 6 months if you get a new sex partner even if you are straight.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #38
75. The "new sex partner" question is much more valid
than just disqualifying only gay men. It makes a great deal of sense, while our disqualification does not.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #75
78. Right.
We need better screening to weed out the actual risk groups while cutting down on "false hits."
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #35
58. Warpy- test not suffcient.
The test is not foolproof. As I understand it, it will be negative for some period of time after initial infection. I know rape victims are told they should be retested six months after the attack.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #58
74. That's as true for straight women
and straight women over 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of new HIV infection, along with women of color.

Did you know that?

The new tests are for the virus, itself, not the immune response to it.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:04 AM
Response to Original message
39. K&R
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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:08 AM
Response to Original message
40. I can't recommend this post enough ...
Incredibly important message, and so rationally and eloquently stated.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 05:18 AM
Response to Reply #40
44. rational and eloquent
would include statistics, instead of mere assertions about probability without ANY stats to back it up. that's just sloppy imo

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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #44
50. You need to use the old Google and educate youself
No offense, but this is a subject matter that many of us know very well. Advanced discussions do not always cover the basics, and those who do not have decades of experience might need to study on their own a bit. It is very easy to do. But what you are asking for is assumed knowledge in this particular conversation, and you should not expect to be hand fed. To attempt to dismiss the conversation because of your own lack of knowledge about what is going on in your own country for decades now is just lazy and such habits are part of why after over 20 years, we are still fighting ignorance.
So go replace your ignorance with knowledge. Learn the history. Catch up to the thread. But do not expect others to lower the level of discourse to fit your own lack of comprehension. If you want stats, go look them up. This OP was not about stats. And it should not be, has no need to be. That is a whole different subject. You should study up and make an OP about it.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #50
81. i am well aware of the history
i haven't kept up with the latest stats, and the article doesn't prevent them well. for example, it says that black women are the "fastest growing" group. fastest growing says little to nothing about the %age overall that have AIDS. as an example, the fastest growing group to join my gym could be hungarian women under 5'4, it doesn't follow that there are a large percentage of hungarian women under 5'4". "fastest growing" is just one example of how the post is sloppily written and doesn't support its assertions.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #44
53. For stats, see post 52 nt
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #53
82. thank you nt
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 06:14 AM
Response to Original message
46. you make really good points
the reasoning is obsolete. the rule needs to be thrown out. maybe a letter writing campaign? and thank you for your willingness to donate!
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #46
69. There was a petition circulating about this time last year.
I worked at a blood drive at a university with students from their gay-straight alliance about this time last year. The petition was asking the FDA to toss out the restriction on gay men donating blood.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #69
83. There are so many questions that could better weed out the risks.
"Have you had sex with multiple partners within the last year?"
"Have you had sex with a new partner within the last year?"

That sort of thing.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
51. Sometimes the stupid is unbearable.
The stupidity of that rule aside, I commend you and your husband for your big-hearted generosity. We could use many more like you.

Julie
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
54. Recommended +1,000,000,000
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
61. The testing process is not painful at all. It consists of...
running a couple of cotton swabs around inside your mouth. One of the methods of actually donating the marrow can be somewhat painful but it doesn't sound like a big deal to me.
http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Myths_&_Facts_about_Marrow_D...
As for high risk individuals donating blood, part of the concern is the risk to the staff drawing the blood. The blood is tested for numerous infectious diseases before it's processed but accidents can happen. Accidental needle sticks or a screwup causing blood to squirt from the line or a broken bag. It's not just the possibility of an infected unit getting into the blood supply.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #61
65. Hospitals deal with HIV+ patients
all the time now because they come in with other problems, just like the rest of us who aren't HIV+. It is the reason everyone wears rubber gloves for example (or latex).

IOW, it shouldn't be any more of an issue than any other STD.
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. Our concern is collecting as much blood as possible...
with little or no risk to our staff at the blood drive or in the processing lab. We aren't in the business of treating sick people. We attempt to screen high risk individuals before they donate because we can't test them beforehand and can't verify any testing they tell us about. Our staff uses the universal precautions but we don't draw high risk donors because the FDA tells us we can't.
It's not any more of an issue than any other STD. For the most part people with any other STD can't donate either. Same with anyone with hepatitis, a virus or any bacterial infection.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #66
68. No one is saying that people with AIDS or HIV should be donating
but we could ban everyone who has ever had sex from donating and thus make it a certainty that you won't be exposed to those STDs but of course that would make it very hard to find donors.
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #68
72. The way we do it now is effective.
We are able to meet patient needs and it's rare that a whole blood unit tests positive for anything. High risk individuals evidently don't attempt to donate and don't lie to us during screening.
I'm not against the FDA changing the rules. I don't know enough about their risk assessment to say if I think gay men should be allowed to donate or other high risk individuals should be banned.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #72
73. I can tell you now that there are tons of gay men lying and giving blood
at my school several students I know damn well are gay are giving blood this Tues. Heck I lied and gave blood until I came out to my students.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #72
103. As a Gay Male Who Is Not Celebate, You Have Classified Me As "High Risk".
And yet I donate four times a year.

Your mentality is typical of the ignorance that keeps gay people second class citizens in this country.
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #103
111. I didn't classify anybody as anything and I never referred specifically to gay males.
There are numerous reasons why someone would be classified as high risk, male or female, gay or straight.
Here are the ARC guidelines. All blood services are mandated by the FDA to follow similar rules.
http://www.redcross.org/en/eligibility
The fact that you would lie on the screening questionnaire says a lot about your mentality.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
64. Beautiful post
I'm really troubled that you still have to write it as 2009 closes.

It makes me angry that we still have to use what are essentially first impressions guidelines for our nation's blood supply. Your affection for your friend shows and I hope they find a donor soon.

Is there any way you could get tested anyway, just to see if you or your partner would have been a match? If either of you were, you might have more of a (future) argument to make that your friend would have had closer to home help. Just a suggestion. It seems like the only way this outdated idea is going to change is through court decisions.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #64
80. I did ask his mother to look into it.
I don't know if there are "targeted donations" for bone marrow like there are for organs. If there are, then we have both offered to be tested and, if a match, donate specifically for him. She's said she would look into it.

Still, even if we get the chance to do so, it doesn't lessen the need to review the process.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
67. Obama could change this policy tomorrow
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 09:34 AM by dsc
in fact he could have changed it on Jan 20th. The notion that this policy is about anything other than bigotry is contradicted by the fact that blood and marrow are being treated differently. Blood it is even once since 1977, for marrow it is five years. Why the difference? It can't be science. It is that marrow is in shorter supply so they have a lesser restriction on it. The fact is there is a justification for a year outside of a committed relationship. There is no justification for anything more than that. Obama could change that tomorrow.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #67
70. No he couldn't and even if he could, shouldn't. Politicians making science policy?
Edited on Sun Nov-22-09 09:50 AM by HamdenRice
That's a horrible idea that was tried under the last administration with horrible results for global warming, air pollution, women's health and every other area of science Bush politicized.

Whether the policy is wrong or not, having the president change it is a horrible idea. It will be changed based on changes in medical and statistical research, and will be decided by the CDC and FDA.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #70
71. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #70
76. Since bio-hazardious donations, such as blood, sperm, and bone marrow are tested for
disease, there is no logical reason to forbid gay men. The ban is obviously based off of ideology.

Unfortunately, President Obama claims to be an anti-gay bigot, so I don't see him moving on this anytime soon.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #70
79. He could order that it be reviewed.
And should.
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #70
97. Scientists Are Asking for the Ban to Be Overturned, And Politicians Are Standing In the Way.
The Red Cross has been clamoring for this ban to be lifted for years, but the politicians in the FDA refused to even listen to their arguments until early this year. They are STILL dragging their feet.

And yes, Obama could easily order the FDA to expedite this matter if he wished. But his lack of interest in gay issues is well documented.

Once again, you prove that you have no idea what you're talking about.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 04:46 AM
Response to Reply #97
105. Do you have a link?
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 04:55 AM by HamdenRice
I'd be interested in seeing their opinion. Because the doctors I know here in NYC are cautiously supportive of the current rules just because of the extremely high prevalence of HIV in the gay community -- about 1 in 6 gay men being HIV+ here, with infection rates actually, unfortunately, rising.

I know activists want the exclusion overturned, but I can't find any news stories or sources about scientists and doctors wanting it overturned.

Thanks in advance for any links you can provide.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 05:05 AM
Response to Reply #105
106. Here is a link, from one, count it one, google search
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18827137 /

WASHINGTON - Gay men remain banned for life from donating blood, the government said Wednesday, leaving in place for now a 1983 prohibition meant to prevent the spread of HIV through transfusions.

The Food and Drug Administration reiterated its long-standing policy on its Web site Wednesday, more than a year after the Red Cross and two other blood groups criticized the policy as medically and scientifically unwarranted.

I am disappointed, I must confess, said Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of Americas Blood Centers, whose members provide nearly half the nations blood supply.

end of quote

You must have tried awfully hard to find that news story you couldn't find.

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 05:33 AM
Response to Reply #106
109. Sorry, but that link doesn't support your argument at all
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 06:00 AM by HamdenRice
The scientist you cited says he would prefer a rule that replaces the lifetime ban with a ban of donations by any MSM who has had sex with a man within the last year -- which I think is a good first step, because a lifetime ban doesn't make much sense at all.

But Dr. Bianco's proposal would still ban all sexually active MSMs. The problem is the extremely high prevalence of HIV in the gay community (estimated at between 17% and 25%), the extremely high sero-conversion rates (ie 2%-4% annual infection rates -- i.e., equal to between double and quadruple the total percentage of infected black women who have been infected since the epidemic started), and the "window" after infection during which HIV often can't be detected.

Thanks for the link though. It seems to point to an emerging consensus that the life time ban should be lifted but that the ban on sexually active adult MSMs should be maintained.

So again, I've had difficulty finding any science or medical sources that support lifting the exclusion.

On edit: Would you support Dr. Bianco's proposal -- an exclusion of donations by all MSMs who have had sex with a male partner within the last year?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18827137

"In March 2006, the Red Cross, the international blood association AABB and Americas Blood Centers proposed replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. New and improved tests, which can detect HIV-positive donors within just 10 to 21 days of infection, make the lifetime ban unnecessary, the blood groups told the FDA."

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #109
114. that is what I have repeatedly advocated for, so stop lying about what I have said
with the exception of monogamous couples being outright allowed to give blood, it is the exact, same precise rule I have suggested repeatedly. You are outright lying to suggest I have said anything else.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #114
116. Perhaps I misunderstood you. Most MSMs would still be excluded from giving blood
For example, the OPer would still be excluded under Dr. Bianco's criteria.

Is that what you support? Then I assume we've found common ground. No reason to get so testy about it.

One proviso: a MSM in monogamous relationship would also be excluded. That's because the issue is not the "morality" of one's behavior, but the "disease environment" one is in. Among people in self-described monogamous couples, whether gay or straight, some percentage will have a cheating partner. The risks posed by that are completely different between demographic groups. For example, a heterosexual male or female or a lesbian in a relationship with a partner who "strays" with a white female faces almost no HIV risk, because only 1 in 2000 white females are HIV positive. A MSM in a relationship with a male partner who "strays" faces a more severe risk, because among the "strayers" potential partners, 1 in 4 to 1 in 6 will be HIV positive. Moreover in the "straying" scenario, the blood donor would be unaware of the risk.

It's important not to see it as a behavioral or "moral" issue but as a statistical reality of the prevalence of the virus in various communities.

I still can't find any medical or scientific sources that advocate the kinds of screening advocated in this thread; they all want to exclude all MSMs who have had sexual contact with another male in the last year.

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beyurslf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
77. I always point that out when we have blood drives at work. Gay men are banned from
donating. The sad part is closeted men who are least likely to be tested are also the least likely to admit they have had sex with men.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
86. My oldest and best friend
is alive today because of a marrow donor.

Thank you for trying.

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
87. So only virgins who have lived in a plastic bubble all their lives should donate?
WTF? We all have a chance of having something. You can not walk outside without potentially getting exposed to a disease.
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colsohlibgal Donating Member (670 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
88. Completely Inane
Just as with some ridiculous mandatory sentencing laws, this policy makes no sense - and needs to be changed ASAP. Get on this Mr. Obama and save many lives.
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Bentcorner Donating Member (385 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
90. I was tested two weeks ago and they didn't ask me that question, plus
the testing process is anything but painful. You swab your own cheek with a q-tip type of thing.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #90
91. Interesting - I didn't remember any questions about sex partners
when I was tested several months ago - so I was all ready to dispute the OP - or to at least point him to a different registry - but I looked today for the criteria of the place I am registered (the National Marrow Donor Registry) and they do use the blood donor restrictions for HIV. I figured I must just have spaced out on those questions. (Organ donation, on the other hand, does NOT include the blood-based restrictions on donors.)

You're right about the initial screening - the q-tip - being painless. I think later testing, if I end up being a potential match, may be more painful.
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JustAnotherGen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
92. Breaks my heart to read this
:-( You and your partner could have been able to save two lives if not now - then in the future. Shame, shame, shame, on us.
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Mad_Dem_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
93. That is absolutely crazy.
I am so sorry to hear this. I pray your friend will get the transplant to save his life, and I hope the medical community wakes up to the 21st Century.
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Luciferous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
94. K&R
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
95. I'm curious.
It doesn't identify actual high-risk behavior, just a category that once upon a time was considered the main source of HIV.

It looks to me like aside from intravenous drug use, it still is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 05:24 AM
Response to Reply #95
108. his point is monogomous same sex behavior is no more or less risky
than monogomous different sex behavior.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #108
113. Same goes for drug use.
Hey, the same goes for intravenous drug use. As long as you aren't sharing needles, you aren't at risk for blood-born illnesses from it.

But the Red Cross doesn't discriminate on that basis. They simply ask if you have used intravenous drugs, and if you say yes, you can't give blood.

I guess they figure once you're engaged in the two most risk-prone ways of getting HIV, they'll pass on your blood rather than get into the details of your behavior.

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #113
115. interveinous drug use is bad health wise in and of itself
so that is very much apples and oranges.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #115
117. True.
But that's not why the Red Cross is concerned about it and giving blood.

At least, this is what I infer from it being in the section of questions all pertaining to HIV transmission.

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kurtzapril4 Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
100. Re: Today I was prevented....
I am so sorry. It's so ridiculous.

Last I was told, at my school's blood drive, I can't contribute marrow or blood, either, as I have MS, and I take a drug that supresses my immune system. I'd be willing to forgo it for a few weeks in order to be able to donate, but no dice.

I can't imagine what you're going through.
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marshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-22-09 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
101. Probably had to put the clause for their insurance policy
To cover themselves from some blood sucking lawyers' lawsuit in case somebody gets sick and tries to blame it on the transplant.

My cousin got hepatitis C from a blood transfusion, but that was around 25 years ago. I think they must have learned to screen better.
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 05:21 AM
Response to Original message
107. Welcome to statistics...nt
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
112. Hell,I should be on the top of the list-as a nurse
I am exposed to a plethora of diseases.I can't donate because....I had a tattoo placed 6 months ago.
By the way,the only HIV pos patients I have had in the last 5 years have been IV drug abusers of multiple races.The gay community in Dallas has done a great job of educating and facillitating access to information.
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latebloomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
118. Ridiculous!
I owe my life to a stem cell donor. Once a match is made, they screen the donor for all kinds of stuff- why not HIV? They don't need to rule large groups of people out at the jump. Perhaps for blood donations, but not stem cells.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
119. I've thought of this a couple of times when I've gone to give blood
A monogamous gay guy or one who abstains from risky behavior is probably about as safe as anyone else.

I suspect they do this not out of discrimination, but to prevent lawsuits on the very slight chance that someone who gets a transplant or transfusion turns up HIV positive and wants to blame it on the gay donor.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #119
120. I never said it was big-D Discrimination in the bigoted sense
just an outdated regulation.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #120
121. I don't think it's discrimination out of bigotry but out of fear of lawyers
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brewens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #121
122. It's not the blood center, it's the FDA.
If the people running the blood center decided to ignore that regulation they would be shut down. If you answered yes to the male/male sex question, they drew blood from you and distributed the unit to a hospital, they would probably get busted. That would of course mean that the unit cleared testing but it wouldn't matter.
If not the first time, the FDA inspectors would eventually catch one. Then they would look closer and find all the others. Definitely not an option
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