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Author Topic: Gay men banned for life  (Read 4834 times)

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Online Dachshund

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Gay men banned for life
« on: May 24, 2007, 06:45:26 AM »
The FDA's ban prevents an estimated 62,300 gay and bisexual men per year from donating blood, despite the Red Cross calling the policy "medically and scientifically unwarranted."


http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/23/fda-blood/

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2007, 08:39:54 AM »
This is all about bigotry and prejudice. Disgusting is what it is. And stupid.
Andy Velez

Offline puertorico2006

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2007, 11:48:19 AM »
i really dont understand this policy.....considering they screen everything for anything transmittable like hiv, hep and other things i believe.....

I bet the think being "gay" is transmitted through blood hehe ..the FDA can be pretty stupid sometimes.....

Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline jimw

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2007, 03:20:42 PM »
I have always thought that was a stupid policy.
they don't ask heterosexuals whether or when the last time they had unprotected sex? (I think) but still take their blood.

Offline jimw

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 03:23:44 PM »
Article quote:
"To ensure such risks were minimized further, their proposal included a “one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact"

Like who is going to forgo sex for a year just to give blood?

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 04:36:50 PM »
Homosexually active men, women who have sex with them and injecting drug users have been banned from donating blood and other products in Australia for more than 20 years.

At the risk of being controversial, it's a policy that Matty the Damned agrees with.

MtD

Offline sdcabincrew74

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 05:35:34 PM »
I like the policy too.  Makes sense to me.

SD (who is glad they do not want my blood, it belongs in me)
The difference between an overnight and a layover is luck!

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 05:56:25 PM »
I don't have any problem with the policy.

Offline bocker3

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2007, 06:17:18 PM »
The problem with the policy is that it is not based on CURRENT science.  The fact that they do not ban (nor do they even ask) based on recent behavior (i.e. unprotected sex) gives a false sense of security to the blood supply.  For instance -- if you get paid for sex, but use condoms every single time, you can not donate, however, if you are just very "Popular" and have sex (for free) with scores of people each month and never use a condom, you can donate.
Additionally, what sense does it make to ban a man for life who may have experimented once, 20 yrs ago with another man.
It's not just the blanket ban -- it's the whole donor screening questionnaire and deferral categories that need updating.

Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
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Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2007, 06:29:49 PM »
I think they should only take the blood of fresh young virgins.

Offline thunter34

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2007, 07:18:44 PM »
Homosexually active men, women who have sex with them and injecting drug users have been banned from donating blood and other products in Australia for more than 20 years.

At the risk of being controversial, it's a policy that Matty the Damned agrees with.

MtD

I think the policy is ignunt.  All it is doing is making a moral statement since all anyone has to do is lie to get around it, all blood is tested for pathogens anyway and the contagions that are the cause of concern are not limited to these particular groups.  I understood it in its beginnings, but now I think it's pretty senseless.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline MSPspud

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2007, 07:26:45 PM »
I think the policy is ignunt.  All it is doing is making a moral statement since all anyone has to do is lie to get around it, all blood is tested for pathogens anyway and the contagions that are the cause of concern are not limited to these particular groups.  I understood it in its beginnings, but now I think it's pretty senseless.

I actually agree with the policy.  While we may be testing for all known pathogens, who knows what other diseases lie on the horizon or have a long incubation period like HIV.  Let's be real - certain populations are more prone to blood born diseases and gay men are one of them.   

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2007, 08:15:14 PM »
This issue is brought up from time to time in Australia by the moderate lesbigay wannabes when they're searching for an issue to screech about.

I don't know about the States. The range of people affected by HIV there is much more diverse than in Australia. Down here around 85% of people with HIV are homosexually active men. Given that the blood supply is a critical public resource it makes sense to exclude those groups with a high rate of HIV (comparative to the rest of the population) from donating.

We also exclude people who lived in the UK during a certain time period from donating blood and other products because of the risk of transmitting vCJD.

Contrary to the views of Youth Pastor Tim, Goderator Andy and others this isn't an issue of ignorance or of bigotry, it's an issue of public health.

MtD

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2007, 09:29:35 PM »
I don't like deferring gays, but when it comes to patient care, you have to be extra conservative.  The whole process when it comes to blood banking from the initial collection to infusing the patient is meticulously documented and every guideline is extremely conservative.  Gays aren't the only group of people who are deferred from donating blood, so it isn't really discriminatory.  I would love to find a way for all groups to be able to donate and not have to sacrifice patient care, since I often do blood banking and I have to deal with the shortages where you practically have to beg the blood center on your hands and knees and promise your first born for them to give your hospital units or have to end up calling another blood center, but there just isn't a way to do that without potentially letting something in the blood supply.  We will never get around the fact that certain groups have a greater probability of carrying certain diseases.  Yes, there are tests and the tests available are sensitive enough to where they will have a lot of false positives, but they will not catch every single patient.  We certainly shouldn't have to relax standards just because people are offended.

I do agree many of the issues in the screening process are outdated.  How does one put behavior in there, though?  You can't simply ask someone and take their word for it.  Would we ever ask someone to skip the condoms as long as someone says they are monogamous and says they have no diseases even if they have never seen a test from them or have any proof?  We also wouldn't do the same in donation of blood or blood products.  The problem with questioning people about behavior is that people lie.  If we could somehow effectively screen for behavior and the tests could catch every positive, then by all means relax the guidelines.  Heck, I think my cousin shouldn't be able to donate blood, but she does and is allowed to go through--she is healthy, heterosexual and screws a different guy almost every night--she also is married and lies about her activities (her husband is in Afghanistan).  I doubt she would suddenly become honest for a blood center if she doesn't be honest to other people.

The process will never be perfect, since no matter how you look at it, people will only need to lie to get around it.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 09:31:28 PM by Coffeechick88 »
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Offline bocker3

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2007, 09:32:31 PM »
Contrary to the views of Youth Pastor Tim, Goderator Andy and others this isn't an issue of ignorance or of bigotry, it's an issue of public health.

You are right, it is an issue of public health.  However, this policy does not guarantee the safety of the blood supply from HIV, because the questions used to screen are really based on a person's status (not HIV, status) instead of on a person's behavior.  There are some gay men who are far less likely to ever get infected with HIV than heterosexuals.  The correct thing to do, from a public health perspective, is to figure out who is at risk because of behavior.  There is no way to ever guarantee HIV free blood, because of the window period in testing -- although it does get ever smaller.
This blanket ban made sense in the early days, when little was known and when the testing left very large window periods.  It no longer makes sense -- unless we ban ALL people who have ever had sex with anyone (or anything), even once, since 1976.

Mike
(who wrote a paper on this very topic while working toward his MPH in 1998)
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline bocker3

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2007, 09:40:45 PM »
Gays aren't the only group of people who are deferred from donating blood, so it isn't really discriminatory.  I would love to find a way for all groups to be able to donate and not have to sacrifice patient care, since I often do blood banking   We certainly shouldn't have to relax standards just because people are offended.

I believe gays are the only group of people deferred for being who they are -- so it is discriminatory.  I'm not necessarily "offended" by the standard -- I just want it based in science not history.  I, too, have been working the Blood bank with an aneurysm bleeding out in the OR, so I know about shortages.  The current standards increase shortages in the name of safety, but safety isn't assured with these standards

I do agree many of the issues in the screening process are outdated.  How does one put behavior in there, though?  You can't simply ask someone and take their word for it.  The problem with questioning people about behavior is that people lie. 

You are right -- people will and do lie.  How many men do you think lie about having had sex with other men??  This already IS about behavior -- just not the appropriate behavior. 

Mike
(Who also has a BS in Medical Technology)
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2007, 10:30:52 PM »
Well Bocker,

Matty the Damned doesn't recall mentioning gay men in this thread. When he re-reads his posts he sees that he mentions "homosexually active men". Down here it's all about risk behaviours.

The groups in question include:

Men who have had sex with other since 1977 (homosexually active men);
Women who have had sex with homosexually active men;
Injecting drug users.

And there are still others. It's sound policy, it's worked in Australia since 1985 and I, as a gay man, support it.

MtD

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2007, 11:23:27 PM »
Organizations as experienced with blood donations such as the Red Cross have affirmed that the methods of screening blood used today are reliable enough (and done in every case of donation) so that neither HIV nor other infectious elements can slip through.

So I still stick with my original comment that the FDA's position is ill informed and bigoted.

Andy Velez

Offline chemistry001

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2007, 08:05:27 PM »
For my 18th b'day (12 years ago now) my mum took me to the local blood donor center as I wanted to give blood and she has given blood for many years, to my horror I was on the list of 'cant donate if' along with people who inject.
I must say that at the time I was mortified and angry, even though I had had hiv and std tests done and was all clear.
I still think that it is crazy, but I feel that there must be many flaws with their screening techniques if they are so adament that certain sectors cant donate.
These days i know I can't donate but I just keep thinking of all those others who are like me when I was 18 and wanting to do the right thing.

Whats to stop people telling a few porkies when they go to donate? I could have at the time.

Paul xXx
Diagnosed 01/08/06
CD4-9, VL->500,000, CD4% 1
Started on Sustiva/combivir 22/08/06 changed to kivexa 18/09/06
02/10/06
CD4-50, VL-1496, CD4% 5
04/12/06
CD4-112, VL-125, CD4% 7.5
22/02/07
CD4-121, VL-<50, CD4% 9
29/05/07
CD4-125, VL-71,(re-done 149), CD4% 11
25/09/07
CD4 -231, VL-74, CD4% 15
Cant remember the next few dates
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Offline bocker3

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2007, 11:49:24 AM »
I still think that it is crazy, but I feel that there must be many flaws with their screening techniques if they are so adament that certain sectors cant donate.

I don't think that it has anything to do with potential flaws in screening techniques.  I believe that it all comes down to fear.  The FDA fears that Mr. and Mrs. Joe Public will fear both getting and giving blood if MSM are allowed to donate.  The general public is definitely not ruled by science.  If the FDA was only concerned with the public's health, they would, at a minimum, stop excluding a man who had sex with another men 30 years ago, but not since and maybe limit it to a year.  This still would be nuts, IMHO, but at least an argument could start to be made that they aren't discriminating in as much of a blanket and ignorant fashion.
Here is the clincher -- MSM are banned forever, no matter how long ago the last time was, but if a straight men has sex with a known poz woman, he is excluded for a year.  Why??  because after a year, there is little doubt that a screening test would catch a positive test if he contracted it.

Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: Gay men banned for life
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2007, 05:52:54 PM »
In theory, of course, a blanket ban doesn't make sense, since HIV is more concerned with behavior--such as unprotected sex, etc.  But they will always lean toward the more conservative end in terms of public health in practice and epidemiology does play a role since MSMs are still a high risk group in terms of HIV and blood borne pathogens and they are ones who have a higher probability in terms of risk, etc.  This goes with all other high risk populations.  So in a way, it does make sense if you look at epidemiology.  Whether you start asking about unprotected sex or whether they use drugs or are gay, people always will lie, which is a big flaw in the process.  I do agree with bocker that another alternative would be deferring for a year--that does actually make sense, since it would be very unlikely for something to not be caught for that long.  I also agree that fear is an issue, since so few of the eligible population donates in the first place and people do still have ignorance in that area.  I still remember radio ads--I think it was from a group of Focus on the family about how the blood would not be safe if the gays donated, etc and that definitely was a tactic to drive fear.

Does anyone know if there have been studies done on other countries who don't have the blanket ban on gays, etc and how that works out?
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

 


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