Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Should gay and bisexual men be allowed to donate blood?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) March 17th, 2016

Since there is already a practice put in place to screen anyone donating blood to ensure the person is of full health and free of infection. Should the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood be lifted?

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27 Answers

Pandora's avatar

I didn’t know there was one since all blood is screened. I would hate to think they just take people at their word that they are disease free.

ibstubro's avatar

FDA Lifts Ban On Blood Donations By Gay And Bisexual Men

“The FDA announced…that it was replacing a lifetime prohibition with a new policy that will allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, but only if they have not had sexual contact with another man for at least one year.”

NerdyKeith's avatar

@ibstubro Yes I’m aware of that. Perhaps I should have specified in my OP, but I mean a lifted ban regardless if a person has had sex within less than a year.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@NerdyKeith I see no difference between homo and hetro sex. STD’s can strike anyone who has sex.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 Exactly I agree. I would also add that STD’s can strike anyone who has unprotected sex.

Mimishu1995's avatar

When did blood become related to sexual orientation?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Mimishu1995 In the 80’s because of the tainted Hep C and Hiv scandal .

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Mimishu1995 It is very biasly assumed that gay and bisexual men are more likely to have a sexually transmitted disease. Which is a double standard. As any one who practices unsafe sex could get an std. Its just a pathetic excuse to be homophobic. Everyones blood can be tested.

And yes @RedDeerGuy1 is correct, the bias was based on the aids epidemic of the 80’s.

JLeslie's avatar

I know I’ll catch hell, but I’m ok banning them. The year rule I guess is sufficient though. In the US the majority of HIV cases is in the gay population and they are a relatively small population. So, that small group accounts for more than half of the cases. I don’t know what percent of gay people are positive, that would be an important number.

My gay BIL’s are the only people I know who have had hep B. Now, people are vaccinated for it I guess. Maybe in our age group it wasn’t done, or maybe in the countries they are from. Of course straight people get it too, but statistics matter.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@NerdyKeith That wasn’t a question, I was just pointing out how ridiculous it is to turn someone down from donating blood just because they are gay. Sex and blood, two completely unrelated things. You are afraid of disease? Go test the person, not look at their sex. That applies to everyone.

And thanks for the info, but this is the 21st century, not the 80s anymore.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I see, well in that case I agree with you. It is ridiculous that anyone is being turned away from donating blood on the bases of their sexuality.

JLeslie's avatar

I found this It’s really hard to find the number. This says 20% of gay men are positive. That is a lot! The article says half don’t know.

johnpowell's avatar

We can test blood. So it shouldn’t matter. All blood should be tested. One segment of the population being more prone to the disease should be irrelevant.

My friend Jake died of AIDS back in the 80’s from a bad blood transfusion. I would like to think we now suck up the cost and test every bag.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the best tests still come up at a high rate of false negative during the first three weeks of infection. I hope for blood transfusions they use the best tests. The older tests the window was much much longer; it was a few months.

zenvelo's avatar

Every donation is tested; a separate vial is filled for testing after the donation bag is filled.

What is really a better indicator of potential danger is not orientation but rather sexual practice. Anal sex is much more likely to transmit HIV between an infected person and an unaffected person, because of the higher incidence of bleeding and tearing. To the extent that not all gay men have anal sex, it is a bit too much of a generalization to ban donations from all homosexual men.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

If all blood is tested why should this even be an issue? This discrimination has got to stop for crying out loud!!!!!! I cannot believe that in the 21st century we still think like this! Obviously safety comes first but that should be in ALL cases!!!!!

JLeslie's avatar

No one is saying heterosexuals don’t have HIV also. It does cost money to test every sample.

@zenvelo That’s a good point. There is still risk with oral sex though, and more risk in the gay population. It’s just a fact that no one here seems to want to accept. Gay people I know accept it. They worry more about contracting HIV and testing for it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@JLeslie that’s a pretty realistic position to take. While I don’t support a ban and am glad they lifted it I see the original intent. They turn all kinds of people away for any number of reasons. It’s just risk mitigation and cost control. It’s not any real discrimination, just numbers. With all of the careful testing they do on every sample there is no real strong reason to ban homosexuals. I don’t even know why recent tattoos are a disqualifier these days either.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Maybe, there are a lot of tattoo artists still not using sterile needles. Or, maybe that population is more likely to take other risks too, and it’s based on a correlation? Or, it could be totally bogus and outdated. I don’t know, I’m just guessing.

I know every time I get a mani-pedi I worry everything isn’t sterile. I don’t let them cut my cuticles, but I still feel uncomfortable about it.

When thinking about budgets and safety people need to be a little less easily offended. If a gay man needs a blood transfusion and there is no time to test, who is he going to pick? A random gay man or a soccer mom? People need to think about the money like it comes out of their own pocket, because it does.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@JLeslie I’m sure it is more complicated like the tests they do are basic and can sometimes miss things that take more expensive tests. Perhaps some diseases can be present and not detectable in some window of time. Regardless it’s good that political correctness does not get in the way of safety.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I would bet you are right that are there other disease that can be missed in the testing if the diseases was recently contracted. I don’t know all the details about the testing that is done.

I do think there is always the possibility that the rules are outdated or based on assumptions and not facts. It’s worth it to check ourselves (as a country and government) and make sure the rules that do exclude groups of people actually are warranted for safety reasons.

Mariah's avatar

Everyone keeps saying “but they test the blood.” The issue is that there are false negatives. So even with the testing, some tiny percentage of innocent sick people are going to get blood that harms them if we don’t apply other safety measures.

I don’t know enough to answer this question, really. I know that HIV/AIDS used to be much more prevalent among gay people than straight people, but I don’t know if that’s still true.

I don’t consider this an issue of discrimination. Being able to donate blood isn’t some kind of human right that we’re denying. And sick people have got to be able to trust that the blood they’re getting is safe.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah It’s still much much more prevalent among gay men.

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