General Question

shimizu1006's avatar

Is it true homosexual men can't donate blood?

Asked by shimizu1006 (42points) April 23rd, 2010 from iPhone

I was told at my school today that although I am old enough to give blood, the may reject me because there is a law that says so. I’ve also heard that instead of rejecting me right away, they’ll inquire about my sex life first. Is any of this true? Most of what I found on google seemed to be conflicting or outdated. Thanks.

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40 Answers

DrBill's avatar

False, your blood would be tested just like everyone else

wundayatta's avatar

I never heard of that.

Allie's avatar

Any male who has had sex with another male since 1977 can’t donate.

Edit: I donated blood two days ago and they give you a check list of reasons why they can’t accept your blood. That’s one of the ones included. Also, any female who has had sex with a male who has had sex with a male since 1977.

kevbo's avatar

Yup, although it isn’t a law. I can’t either, because I was in the UK in the 90’s (mad cow disease risk).

You can bank your own blood in anticipation of a surgery.

DominicX's avatar

In some places, men who have had sex with men cannot donate blood because of the increased risk of HIV. That is not the same thing as “gays can’t give blood”. There’s no way to test if you’re gay. All they can do is ask questions about sexual encounters.

MrItty's avatar

In the United States, the FDA has ruled that no blood can be collected from any man who has ever – even once – had sex with another man. Sex is defined as vaginal, oral, or anal.

The three major blood-collecting agencies in the US have all stated that there is no scientific basis for this life-long ban, and have asked the FDA to reconsider it.

Before they let you donate, they will ask you a series of questions. One of those questions will be “Have you ever had sex with another man?” If you answer “yes”, you will be told you can’t donate.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Thats bullshit!!!! you can donate anything blood sperm….it doesn’t have anything with you being gay or not:) enjoy yourself and donate:D

DrBill's avatar

I donate on a regular basis, and have never been asked about sexual preference.

rebbel's avatar

That would sound to me as if they think Aids/HIV is an exclusive gay thing.
That’s just ignorant.

Allie's avatar

@rebbel They ask you questions like if you’ve performed sexual acts for money, if you’ve ever had sex with someone who performs sexual acts for money, and if you’ve ever used any drugs where you inject yourself using a needle. All of those things can increase HIV/AIDS too.

MrItty's avatar

@DrBill They don’t ask “are you gay?”. They ask “Are you a man who has, since 1977, had sex with another man, even once?”.

rebbel's avatar

Ah, then it makes more sense.
It is not like @MrItty here says, they don’t ask you if you are gay?

MrItty's avatar

@rebbel Again, they do not ask you if you are gay. They ask “Are you a man who has, since 1977, had sex with another man, even once?” That is one of many many questions they ask.

Allie's avatar

@rebbel No, they don’t outright ask if you’re gay. And I don’t think it’s that they won’t take your blood if you’re gay. It’s because they won’t take your blood if you’ve taken part in activities which increase the risk of HIV/AIDS… having sex with men being one of those things. (Again, also with IV drug users, and sex for money encounters.)

AstroChuck's avatar

No. That’s only false homosexual men.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, I guess blood born diseases are much more likely in the gay population, so maybe that is why they won’t allow it? Even if they can test for HIV, I think there is still considered to be a window of time after first infected that the test might come back negative (someone correct me if that is wrong). There also might be some paranoid fear that if a new disease developed that we do not test for, it would be more likely spread in that population, which is exactly what happened with AIDS. I’m not defending it either way, just thinking out loud.

CMaz's avatar

You could say no to the questions you do not want to answer yes to.

They are going to test the blood before use anyway.

rebbel's avatar

I understood.
Maybe i worded it a bit clumsy.

syz's avatar

In North Carolina, I have to read the contents of a binder each time that I donate and sign a statement that I have read and understood the aforementioned binder. Included in the binder is a list of items that would disqualify me from donating. One of the items listed is if I am a male that has had sex with another male, or if I am a female that has had sex with a male that has had sex with another male. So, technically, no, if you are a gay male, you are not disqualified from donating. However, if you are a sexually active gay male, then yes, you are disqualified from donating. (At no point are you asked to declare your sexual orientation.)

MrItty's avatar

@syz it’s not just NC. It’s a Federal rule (the FDA, to be specific)

shimizu1006's avatar

Thanks for all the responses! I’m only 17 and they’re doing this at my high school. I asked one of the nurses about the matter and I have a boyfriend, so naturally I wouldn’t qualify under the circumstances. I was a little frustrated that I had just found out right before, but I guess I’ll just have to wait a few years until I’m allowed because there’s no way I have HIV and I don’t wanna lie :(

FutureMemory's avatar

I wonder if I’m not supposed to donate blood since my dad contracted hepatitis a few years before I was born (sexually)

JLeslie's avatar

@FutureMemory I am not sure if you are asking seriously or not? I don’t think you can get hepatitis from your parent, it’s not a like a genetic disease. Is that what you meant?

Canonball's avatar

I think it has just been lifting in the US but it’s still here in the UK, I can’t give blood, it’s one of the questions they ask before giving blood.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@FutureMemory No, your father’s hepatitis will have no effect on your ability to donate. If YOU had hepatitis, it would be a different story. Anyone who has had any sort of hepatitis (even food-related) is automatically disqualified for life.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Oh, I did not know that. I have always wondered if someone can give hep A to someone else, if they had it in their lifetime?

MrItty's avatar

@Canonball It has not been lifted in the US. One US Senator (John Kerry) wrote a letter to the FDA asking them to reconsider it. That’s it.

alive's avatar

Hepatitis A is not a sexually transmitted infection. link

there are several things that prevent people from donating…

i think mainly the questions that weed people out are just to save time and money (the time of ppl taking the blood, and to keep the line of donors moving, and the money it costs to test blood and dispose of it properly if it can’t be used).

personally i think it is stupid to not take a donation, even if in the end it must be tossed out.

however, that being said, i think the questions are heteronormative. i.e. it assumes that women aren’t having anal sex. because HIV has a higher likelihood of being transmitted through ANY anal sex, not just gay anal sex.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive You may have missed that @Dr_Dredd wrote even food related Hep, which is Hep A, that is why I asked. Although now that I thnk of it, can you get Hep B even if the person is completely recovered?

alive's avatar

@JLeslie i saw that, but @FutureMemory said his dad got hep A sexually…. so i was just pointing out that A is not a sexually transmitted disease, B and C, however, are blood borne/sexually transmitted

Response moderated
Dr_Dredd's avatar

Hepatitis A is spread by the fecal-oral route. In the vast majority of cases, that translates into contaminated food. (Remember the Chi-Chi’s fiasco a few years ago?) However, it is not completely unheard of for it to be spread sexually.

Regardless, though, hepatitis A is a self-limited infection. You get it, you suffer for awhile, and you recover. It doesn’t stick around in the body like Hepatitis B or C. I don’t understand why people with Hepatitis A are forbidden from donating.

alive's avatar

hep B can also go away

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@alive True, but not in all cases. There are enough times when hep B can become chronic that it justifies excluding these folks from blood donation. This is not the case for hep A.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive I thought he wrote his dad got hep sexually a few years before he was born, not that he had hep A. I assumed he meant B or C.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I always wondered since I know my husband had A, and I would trust him to give me blood, BUT he does have thalessemia, not sure if that matters? Can you get that from a transfussion or sickle cell? Or, is it some other mechanism that simpply isn’t working right so those diseases would not be a problem.

About the Hep B, do you have to be chronically sick to pass it along? My BIL had hep years ago, and shortly after he started dating his current boyfriend, the boyfriend came down with hep B, and I always wonder if her got it from my BIL even though my BIL had not been ill in years.

skfinkel's avatar

They are very careful about the blood supply. I lived in England for over six months, in 1985 and therefore can’t give blood because of mad cow disease. (a person there for five months would be able to—so it is rather hit and miss.) However, when I recently needed to get blood, I found myself quite happy that they were trying hard to keep the blood free of all kinds of diseases—even the elusive mad cow disease.

nicobanks's avatar

It’s not about sexual identity, it’s about sexual activity. If you’re a man who’s had sex with men since HIV started, they don’t want to bother testing your blood because (according to them) it’s a waste of money. There’s all kinds of restricted behaviours for blood donation.

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