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Author Topic: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"  (Read 7608 times)

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Offline Peter Staley

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POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« on: January 24, 2007, 10:23:19 AM »
We're starting this thread so that folks can comment on the following news item posted on POZ.com:


January 23, 2007

Gay Blood? No Thanks

A 1977 ban preventing gay men from donating blood faces a growing chorus of critics who find it outdated and discriminatory. The San Jose Mercury News tracks the debate, sparked when California teenager Ronnie Childers was turned away last month from a school blood drive just because he is gay.

So what do folks think about this?

Peter



Offline Jody

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 11:15:32 AM »
Municipalities are always complaining they are short on blood...ANYONE who has their blood tested and is not HIV+ should definitely be permitted to donate blood...What is the problem here?  Most gay men are not HIV+ so their blood is needed.  But it is enough to anger you to say that if straight people aren't going to join the fight on this issue then screw them, they don't deserve the extra blood donations added to the overall supply that would be available should they need them.

Jody  :(
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

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Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 11:18:21 AM »
With current testing procedures and safety measures, it is, of course, discrimination -- founded on fear, calling itself prudence.

In 2000, when the FDA visited the issue of the lifetime ban, the American Red Cross was the holdout:

http://www.redcross.org/news/archives/2000/9-15-00b.html

Here's a good link from GMHC, also from 2000, explaining the "blood safety process" and the top 52 reasons on not being able to donate blood:

http://www.thebody.com/gmhc/issues/novdec00/blood.html

An article from 2006, explaining why the Red Cross now agrees with the American Association of Blood Banks and America's Blood Centers that the ban against gay men is discriminatory:

http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid27945.asp

And from the UK, "Why we ask gay men not to give blood" ("It is specific behaviours, rather than being gay, which places gay men at increased risk of HIV infection.Safer sex will keep most gay men free from infection,however research shows that allowing gay men as a group to donate blood would increase the risk of HIV infected blood entering the blood supply."):

http://www.transfusionguidelines.org.uk/index.asp?Publication=DL&Section=12&pageid=391

This is just a sampling of some easily accesible, searchable sites, of course.

Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Central79

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2007, 11:27:42 AM »
I find it tough to have a view about this. When I was negative and in a monogamous relationship it really used to upset me: I wanted to help, and couldn't understand why I would have to lie to do so. Now I've caught HIV (from safer sex) I've essentially proven their point! So I get a bit confused... I think maybe it's because the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV is higher in gay men, and also who knows what may have caught in the window period - statistically gay men have more partners and more risk. There's also a higher level of HIV in the gay community, not good combined with more partners.

They mix all this stuff up before screening it as well... so one pint of contaminated blood means they have to get rid of a lot they can use. Maybe they've done the maths and worked out that it's best to exclude us. Still, feels crappy...
Diagnosed January 2006
26/1/06 - 860 (22%), VL > 500,000
24/4/06 - 820 (24.6%), VL 158,000
13/7/06 - 840 (22%), VL 268,000
1/11/06 - 680 (21%), VL 93,100
29/1/07 - 1,020 (27.5%), VL 46,500
15/5/07 - 1,140 (22.8%), VL not done.
13/10/07 - 759 (23.2%), VL 170,000
6/11/07 - 630 (25%), VL 19,324
14/1/08 - 650 (21%), VL 16,192
15/4/08 - 590 (21%), VL 40, 832

Offline Tucsonwoody

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2007, 01:55:50 PM »
Not only is it a matter of terrible discrimination, someone else is at risk of dying due to the blood shortage.  As an example here is an article from my morning paper today:

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.24.2007

MESA -- United Blood Services said it is nearly out of type O-negative blood and has declared a "Level-1 emergency," having turned down Arizona hospitals for 107 orders of blood.

The nonprofit blood provider announced the shortage of O-negative Tuesday and attributed it mainly to severe winter storms nationwide that required blood be sent elsewhere. United Blood Services is extending its hours through Thursday night to accommodate more donors to help fill the gap.

Like many newspapers, mine allows readers to post comments about the articles - one reader posted this:

"I have healthy O- blood. They won't take it because of who I love."

Just goes to show, doesn't it?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 01:59:50 PM by Tucsonwoody »
And I wished for guidance, and I wished for peace
I could see the lightning; somewhere in the east
And I wished for affection, and I wished for calm
As I lay there - Nervous in the light of dawn

Offline Cerrid

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 04:24:08 PM »
Perhaps this example of good practice is useful to you:

In Italy, gays were excluded from blood donations until 2001 when there was a reform on this topic. So since 2001, italian gays were allowed to give blood. And what happened? The percentage of infected donations went slightly down (from 2,2% in 2000 to 2,1% in 2001), but the total number of donations increased from 1.615.877 (2000) to 1.910.430 (2001). That's almost 20% more donations in just a year.

I remember vaguely that only recently the ban was about to be lifted in Spain as well, but I'm not sure of the outcome. Perhaps some of the Spanish forum members know more about it.

However, most of the other European nations have this ban still intact.

On a sidenote: In some countries, including Germany and Switzerland, there's a blood donation ban on people who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for longer than 6 months. It's explained by the still unproven fear of transmission of Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (some of you remember the mad cows). Officials in these countries use the Brit ban as to prove that the gay ban has nothing to do with discrimination but with protection of the transfusion recipients ("you see, the brits are not complaining, so why should you gays complain?").

How do I know? I had a double donor ban for being gay PLUS having lived in the UK at the crucial time interval...


"Boredom is always counterrevolutionary. Always." (Guy Debord)

Offline alisenjafi

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2007, 12:28:37 PM »
Having lived in Europe for over 7 years I couldn't give blood anyway. That's another detraction for people giving blood. Anyone living in Britian for x amount of time are also barred.
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Offline bear60

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2007, 12:20:47 PM »
I used to donate blood to the Red Cross on a regular basis. I remember red cross came to schools...right?
So there are a lot of people out there who recieved my gay blood., lol
Its just silly anymore.  With the HIV testing, should be no problem for anyone to donate.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 12:09:20 PM »
The science is good enough these days to protect the blood supply.

As far as I am concerned this is just more disgusting HIV-phobia and homophobia masked in a misbegotten and unfounded concern about protecting the blood supply.

READ MY LIPS: PREJUDICE. BIGOTRY. IDIOCY. 

Andy Velez

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2007, 04:04:47 PM »
It's interesting.... before I seroconverted I was allowed to give blood anyway because my blood type is rare, even though I openly admitted to being gay.  Apparently there is no shortage of institutional hypocrisy.

This was a fascinating thread to read.  I look forward to further developments.
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2007, 09:12:33 PM »
Moderators: can this thread be cross-posted to Living With? Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline mrtallguy

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2007, 09:39:16 PM »
Great information on this thread!  It truly is a discussion like this that will occur at some point in time at a legislative level that will repeal the ban on gay blood.  It is unbelievably archaic to be a witness to this reality.  I may be using a walker or a wheelchair....but I hope I am around at the point in time when I can partake in one of those "remember when" conversations where we can say to a kid "I remember when gay people were banned from donating blood!"....and they will reply "you have got to be kidding....how insane was that!"

Be Well....

Craig
I AM DETERMINED TO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY!
--ACIM

Offline Lisa

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2007, 11:06:26 AM »
Here here Andy! I can sum it up in one word MISANTHROPY!
Blatant discrimination!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
No Fear  No Shame  No Stigma
Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have.

Offline terpie82

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2007, 01:38:17 PM »
Blatant discrimination, yes, absolutely. This definitely fuels the negative feelings brought upon the LGBT community and the HIV/AIDS community. I understand they are taking precautions, but at the expense of potentially saving other people's lives is outrageous. Cerrid's reflection on Italy's ratification to remove the discriminating policy proves how wrong and outdated the policy is. It also reflects how poorly and backward our country is compared to others. I for one could never give blood because I have always been below the 110 lbs requirement, but I will say that gay blood is just as good as straight blood. We are at the forefront of scientific progress but at the backend of tolerance...how ironic.
Diagnosed in 2003
UD since 2004 and >35% (with one blip)

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2007, 09:54:05 PM »
I definitely agree this is discrimination.  Many times they use the "epidemiology" line--but considering that women--especially African American women are making up an increasing number in the new cases and you don't see any bans on women, it shows that the epidemiology explanation just doesn't cut it.  It is an outdated notion that homosexuals should be excluded simply for being homosexual.  The testing has gotten much better for the blood supply.  Also, HIV doesn't care what group of people you can classify yourself with--the behaviors matter.  I agree with guidelines that allow gay men to donate, but say will defer those who bareback, for example, from donating.  At least tweak the guidelines to bring them into the 21st century. 

We can still protect the blood supply without being discriminatory.  In the US only about 3% of the eligible population actually donates blood regularly.  This can definitely increase that number.  I often do blood bank as part of my job and when there are shortages, it is extremely hard to get blood--there were times when our order couldn't be filled, but we had to do with barebones stock.  The Red Cross, in turn, rations the units out, so in those times to get any units at all you play a game of 20 questions to find out, if say, your bleeding patient really needs blood THAT bad.  It is frustrating and very anxiety provoking when you have a critical patient and you cannot find enough blood--I had one of those situations where I finally found units at a hospital in the adjacent county and was able to get the state police to make a blood run for me.  So you better believe we should do something that can potentially make shortages more unlikely--not allow just anyone to give blood but those who fit criteria to give and help our blood supply increase.
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

Offline AlanBama

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2007, 10:48:15 PM »
Blood donors saved my life in the days before the protease drugs came out.  I received MANY units of O+ in those days, not quite sure how many, because when I hit FORTY transfusions, I stopped counting.

Donated blood is lifesaving.   It is absurd to discriminate based solely on sexual preference.   It's homophobia and AIDS-phobia at its ugliest.

Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2007, 11:47:34 AM »
It's not just blood either.  Back in 1993 I was involved with a non profit group because my friend had leukemia.   That's actually how I ultimately had to out myself to her because I wasn't allowed to be tested as a bone marrow match simply for being gay!   I wasn't out at the time to most and it looked odd that I was the only one of her friends who couldn't sign up for the registry; yet, I was her closest friend who was doing all the work with her and one other friend.

Ultimately, a perfect match was found, but it was too late.   

While I'm positive now I wasn't then and they haven't changed their criteria to my knowledge.   People are out there all over the world hoping to find a bone marrow match and many never will because of this discrimination.   

Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
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3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
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Offline ACinKC

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2007, 12:14:41 PM »
This is horseshit!  Blood is blood.  If it has what you need in it and doesnt have what you dont need (ie HIV etc) then USE IT!
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline Ann

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2007, 12:35:52 PM »

And we wonder why so many young gay men are of the mindset that they are going to end up hiv positive sooner or later? This law pretty much officially states that gay = hiv. 

The question on the forms should not be "are you a man who has sex with men", but "do you engage in unprotected intercourse outside a securely monogamous relationship where you have BOTH tested hiv negative TOGETHER".

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline RapidRod

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2007, 01:55:33 PM »
I can go to UC and give blood to be used on myself without a problem and it's a good thing to do if you know that you are going to have an elective surgery that might require blood. You can't reinfect yourself and I don't have to take out of the blood bank. Even if I didn't have HIV, they wouldn't take mine, I've had HBV.   

Offline anniebc

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2007, 02:59:02 PM »
Quote
READ MY LIPS: PREJUDICE. BIGOTRY. IDIOCY

You took the words right out of my mouth Andy..it find it all disgusting.

Hugs
Jan :-*
(who doens't have the time to go into why she is so against this)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2007, 04:13:04 PM »
I can go to UC and give blood to be used on myself without a problem and it's a good thing to do if you know that you are going to have an elective surgery that might require blood. You can't reinfect yourself and I don't have to take out of the blood bank. Even if I didn't have HIV, they wouldn't take mine, I've had HBV.   

That is always the best thing to do if you can.  If I could do that, I would--especially if you get multiple transfusions, you increase the likelyhood of eventually forming an antibody to one of the red cell antigens, which makes it much more difficult to match blood.  Not all states will let HIV + do autologous donations--Indiana being one of them.  So basically you donate to yourself, they throw it away, you still take from the blood bank if you need blood, which really is stupid.  I have never been able to find a satisfactory explanation why you can be barred from giving your own blood to yourself.  I mean, it isn't as though it will get into the general supply--it is very clearly labeled as autologous and if they are not used, we pitch them.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2007, 04:14:40 PM by Coffeechick88 »
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Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
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Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2007, 05:10:23 PM »
Hi Coffeechick, the ban on autologous donationas in some states is news to me. Even if there is no satisfactory exlanation -- well, there isn't one, because as you say it's stupid -- have your colleagues in the field offerred any explanation at all?

A bit of an aside from the main topic, but I find the subject fascinating.

Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline MitchMiller

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2007, 11:10:53 PM »
I strongly disagree with everyone because the test used by the Red Cross cannot detect HIV until antibodies have formed... right?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  Therefore, it makes good sense to at least attempt to identify those at highest risk and declare them ineligible. 
If the test could detect HIV infection immediately after it occurs, then, obviously, there would be no need for this policy.  I believe the Red Cross also rejects intravenous drug users. 

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2007, 02:00:03 AM »
Next few posts, gonna post some material from government organizations and some quasi-official groups. Apologies for the length of posts (they're not hyperlinks), but skepics and believers both need all the info being disseminated in the world, the better to respond.

From the FDA (content revised May 2005). And one para italicized by me:

As a gay male, why am I deferred as a potential blood donor simply because of my sexual orientation? Furthermore, I am in a monogamous relationship. I am being discriminated against. Will this recommendation be removed any time soon?

In 1983, FDA recommended donor-screening procedures to exclude individuals at increased risk for transmitting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). These recommendations have been updated periodically since then. The exclusion of potential donors based on certain sexual histories has been discussed often, and in-depth, by FDA's Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC). This panel of non-FDA independent experts continues to recommend the deferral of men who have sex with other men and their recent partners. This issue was discussed at the December 11-12, 1997, BPAC meeting. The committee voted to reconsider the current recommendations for deferral of men who have had sex with other men. However, at that time the committee did not specify what the specific recommendations should be. Data on the incidence and prevalence of HIV and other viruses in men who have had sex with other men and data on HIV positive blood donors were presented at the November 23, 1998, FDA Workshop on Blood Donor Suitability. A transcript from this workshop can be obtained from CBER's web site at:

www.fda.gov/cber/minutes/bld112398trans.pdf

The BPAC met on September 14-15, 2000 to revisit this issue. After much discussion, the BPAC recommended that men who had sex with other men since 1977 continue to be deferred from donating blood. A copy of the meeting transcript is available at:

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/cber00.htm#Blood Prducts

A test for the antibodies to HIV (previously termed HTLV-III) was licensed by FDA in 1985 and has been used to screen blood donors since that time. Studies have shown that up to 2 months may elapse between the time of infection and the time the HIV antibody test is reactive. This period of time is often referred to as the "window period." Accepting men who have had sex with other men since 1977 as blood donors increases the likelihood for the collection of HIV-positive window period blood, because epidemiologic studies have documented higher incidence and prevalence rates in these populations. On March 14, 1996, FDA recommended donor screening with a licensed test for HIV-1 antigen, which has succeeded in further reducing the window period. In addition, almost all blood collections in the U.S. are tested for HIV RNA using investigational/experimental tests under the IND regulation. This probably decreases window period risks.

FDA continues to recommend that blood donors be informed of behaviors that potentially place them at increased risk for transmitting HIV. In addition, donors are informed that there is a time interval early in infection during which any test for HIV may be negative and an infection may still be transmitted. Providing donors with this information allows them to consider their behaviors and self-exclude from donation if they participated in any of the identified risk behaviors. Note that donors do not have to specify the basis for their decision to self-defer.

In an April 23, 1992, memorandum to all blood establishments entitled, "Revised Recommendations for the Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency (HIV) Transmission by Blood and Blood Products," FDA outlined updated policies for deferral of donors based on HIV-associated signs and symptoms, medical history, laboratory test results, and certain activities that place the donor at increased risk for HIV infection. Taken together, these control measures had been effective in reducing the risk of transfusion transmission of HIV to about 1 unit per million donations. However, since 2002, the routine use of nucleic acid testing (NAT) for HIV has even further reduced the risk of transfusion transmission of HIV to about 1 unit per 2 million donations. A copy of this memorandum can be obtained from CBER's web site at:

http://www.fda.gov/cber/bldmem/hiv042392.pdf

or by contacting CBER's Office of Communication, Training and Manufacturers Assistance at 301-827-1800.

In the above-mentioned memorandum, certain categories of high-risk behaviors are specifically mentioned, without further elaboration, as a basis for deferral: "men who have had sex with another man even one time since 1977," "men and women who have engaged in sex for money or for drugs since 1977," and "persons who have had sex with any person meeting (these) descriptions during the preceding 12 months," are all examples of such categories. Because there is a potential danger to blood safety in making the criteria for exclusion too specific, activities encompassed by each general area of exclusion have not been described. The April 23, 1992, memorandum also addresses a variety of high risk behaviors and medical conditions that are unrelated to sexual preference, including past or present drug use, hemophilia or other blood clotting disorders, being treated for syphilis or gonorrhea or receiving a transfusion, as well as asking whether a person has had a positive test for antibodies to HIV.

Although a potential individual donor may practice safe sex, persons who have participated in high-risk behaviors are, as a group, still considered to be at increased risk of transmitting HIV. Safe sex practices reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of the transmission of AIDS. Several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies have shown that many people who believe they are engaging in safe sex practices are not doing so, either because of poor technique (i.e., condom is incorrectly used) or lack of consistency (i.e., proper safe sex practices are not used at every sexual encounter). The August 6, 1993, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) will provide you with further information on this subject.

FDA believes that there is scientific justification for screening out all potential donors who are men who have had sex, even once, with another man since 1977, and for screening out the recent (within 12 months) sexual partners of such men. Since 1983, CDC and, the previously mentioned, BPAC have been advising FDA on high-risk categories as a basis for deferral of potential blood donors. Studies have shown that men with a history of male to male sex since 1977 may be infected with HIV and/or may have evidence of a lifestyle that potentially exposes them to HIV. In a recent "HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report" CDC's states that men who have sex with men account for the largest proportion (38%) of new AIDS cases reported in the United States from 1996-1997. Intravenous drug users (23%) are the second highest proportions of reported cases. Studies also show that men with a history of male to male sex since 1977 are also at increased risk of transmitting hepatitis viruses. For further information on CDC studies you may wish to contact:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Mailstop D-21
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
http://www.cdc.gov/

FDA donor exclusion criteria are intended to utilize all prudent measures, which may reduce the potential risk for transmitting HIV and other infectious diseases. FDA's conservative approach, originates from several published sources and public discussions. This approach, consistent with external advice, has the potential to decrease transmission of HIV virus from entering the blood supply. FDA is very much aware that strict exclusion policies eliminate some safe donors in the attempt to maximally protect the nation's blood supply by deferring the largest number of donors at increased risk for HIV infection. FDA continues to review and discuss donor deferral recommendations within the public health service (FDA, CDC, and National Institutes of Health) and at open public BPAC meetings, scientific meetings, etc.

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2007, 02:06:50 AM »
Also from the FDA. Five-part "multiple redundancy" safeguard methods (from 2002):

Keeping Blood Transfusions Safe: FDA's
Multi-layered Protections for Donated Blood


Keeping the United States blood supply the world's safest is the ultimate responsibility of the nation's more than 3,000 blood establishments, which collect and process 14 million units of whole blood donated by volunteers each year. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has the vital role of ensuring that the 3.5 million patients who receive a blood transfusion in a year are protected by five layers of overlapping safeguards. This FDA blood-safety system includes the following measures:

(I) Donor screening: Donors are informed about potential risks and are required to answer questions about factors that may have a bearing on the safety of their blood. For example, donors with a history of intravenous drug abuse are routinely deferred. Since November 1999, the FDA has requested the blood industry to defer potential donors who had lived in European countries with reported or suspected cases of BSE, the "mad cow disease," and who might be carriers of the BSE agent.
(II) Blood testing: After donation, each unit of donated blood undergoes a series of tests for infectious diseases.
(III) Donor lists: Blood establishments must keep current a list of deferred donors and use it to make sure that they do not collect blood from anyone on the list.
(IV) Quarantine: Donated blood must be quarantined until it is tested and shown to be free of infectious agents.
(V) Problems and deficiencies: Blood centers must investigate manufacturing problems, correct all deficiencies, and notify the FDA when product deviations occur in distributed products.

If any one of these safeguards is breached, the blood product is considered unsuitable for transfusion and is subject to recall.

For more information, call 301-827-2000 or visit www.fda.gov/cber/blood.htm.

Testing Blood
The FDA reviews and approves all assay test kits used to detect infectious and transmissible diseases in donated blood. Each unit must be tested for:

Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), which cause inflammation of the liver. The three tests used identify current and previous infection with HBV and HCV; detect a person who has recovered from a hepatitis B infection but continues to be a carrier for HBV; and identify carriers of even symptomless HCV.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV 1 and 2), which cause immunodeficiency disease, or AIDS. One test detects antibodies to proteins of both types of HIV virus, and another detects one of the viral proteins of the HIV-1 virus.
Human T-Lymphotropic Virus, Types I and II, which can cause infections that can lead to leukemia or a variety of neurologic diseases.
Syphilis. The test detects ongoing and previous infections with the bacterium that causes syphilis.

In addition, the FDA has licensed the first nucleic acid test systems for screening donors of whole blood and blood components, including fresh plasma, red cells and platelets. The semi-automated, highly sensitive systems can directly and rapidly recognize the genetic material of HCV and HIV, and thereby detect the infections before the appearance of their symptoms.

Publication No. FS 02-1
February 2002

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2007, 02:11:02 AM »
From the CDC (2006). This one might format bodly, sorry:

How safe is the blood supply in the United States?
 
The U.S. blood supply is among the safest in the world. Nearly all people infected with HIV through blood transfusions received those transfusions before 1985, the year HIV testing began for all donated blood.

The Public Health Service has recommended an approach to blood safety in the United States that includes stringent donor selection practices and the use of screening tests. U.S. blood donations have been screened for antibodies to HIV-1 since March 1985 and HIV-2 since June 1992. The p24 Antigen test was added in 1996. Blood and blood products that test positive for HIV are safely discarded and are not used for transfusions.

Tests Performed on Each Unit of Donated Blood* (Source: American Red Cross)

Disease Test Year Implemented
HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS HIV- I Antibody test  1985
HIV-1/2 Antibody test 1992
HIV-I p24 Antigen test 1996

HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) 1999
Hepatitis C Hepatitis C Anti-HCV 1990
Hepatitis B  Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test 1971
Hepatitis B Core Antibody 1987
Hepatitis Hepatitis ALT 1986
Syphilis Syphilis Serologic test 1948
Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) HTLV-I Antibody 1989
HTLV -I/II Antibody 1998

The improvement of processing methods for blood products also has reduced the number of infections resulting from the use of these products.

Currently, the risk of infection with HIV in the United States through receiving a blood transfusion or blood products is extremely low and has become progressively lower, even in geographic areas with high HIV prevalence rates.

* This list is subject to change as new blood safety opportunities and requirements emerge. Additional tests may be performed to meet special patient needs.
 
 
 This page last reviewed: Friday, October 20, 2006
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2007, 02:31:36 AM »
Well, this is probably overkill already; but I'll try to post different views from reputed groups/scientists tomorrow. (Very sleepy now.) Jay

ps -- MitchMiller, it was your post which "made" me do this; so you can share the blame (or credit) for my dumping excessive info in this thread!
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline carousel

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2007, 05:55:18 AM »
.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 09:23:55 AM by carousel »

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2007, 06:41:01 AM »
I strongly disagree with everyone because the test used by the Red Cross cannot detect HIV until antibodies have formed... right?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  Therefore, it makes good sense to at least attempt to identify those at highest risk and declare them ineligible. 
If the test could detect HIV infection immediately after it occurs, then, obviously, there would be no need for this policy.  I believe the Red Cross also rejects intravenous drug users. 
No, they test for both antigen and antibody and they use tests with enough sensitivity that it is designed to pick up false positives as well.

EDIT:  I just saw the articles in the post above were answering the same question, so that will give you more information.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 06:59:28 AM by Coffeechick88 »
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Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2007, 06:58:26 AM »
Hi Coffeechick, the ban on autologous donationas in some states is news to me. Even if there is no satisfactory exlanation -- well, there isn't one, because as you say it's stupid -- have your colleagues in the field offerred any explanation at all?

A bit of an aside from the main topic, but I find the subject fascinating.

Jay
Autologous donations tend to have less strict requirements than other donations, but they still do infectious disease testing.  I do know at least for HIV and hepatitis B,C the FDA does have a recommendation that those units be immediately discarded (they don't always inform the patient--my grandma recently learned that she had been giving blood for herself for all the surgeries, but they haven't been using it because of an indication of expososure to HBV).  I am not sure if all the bans are on the state or hospital level, but I do know at least in Indiana all the blood centers just throw it out per the FDA recommendations--I am unclear on how other states handle this.  I do know that in other cases, you can get special permission, but how HIV is dealt with everywhere, I am unsure.

My colleagues only thought it was perhaps to ensure it didn't get into the blood supply, so maybe it is just an overcautious move.  But each unit of blood collected is specifically designated for a use, autologous units are very clearly marked, and they are not used for anyone else.  The procedures for autologous vs allogenic is different. 
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Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2007, 07:03:27 AM »
No, they test for both antigen and antibody and they use tests with enough sensitivity that it is designed to pick up false positives as well.

Could you elaborate for lay (non-science professional) members? The antigen test p24 was introduced in 1996, and the NAT in 1999 -- the latter I don't know much about. What sort of specificity/sensitivity does that have?

There was also talk about using RNA testing (links above), but issues with (1) cost) and (2) false positives. So is that still (2006 and 2007) off the table?

As for antibody testing, is a positive EIA followed up WB confirmation, to maximize sensitivity and specificity? I see an HIV 1/2 antibody test being introduced in 1992, but that's probably to screen for HIV-2 as well.

I can't seem to find answers on the Internet so far (admittedly I've only looked for an hour or so). One tends to get over-reliant on the Internet, sigh, and not use actual libraries.

Jay

ps -- thanks for replying about autologous donations.

Edited to add: I haven't had time to read through the CBER/BPAC transcripts (links in the longer FDA post above). So maybe the answers to my potentially dumb questions are there. Besides getting over-reliant on the Internet, one also gets lazy, and expects answers from experts, without wading through masses of data.  :) Sorry!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 07:24:05 AM by lydgate »
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline bearby

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2007, 01:08:29 PM »
 I myself was a blood donor for a lot of years until I  got the news that i was poz ( on Dec 24, 1986 what a christmas present that was  >:( )  .
 Well of course after the diagnosis came down  from the mountain I decided that it was time to give it up .
 I have since beginning meds in 2001 have always made inqquiries when ever I see a blood mobile at the hosptial or any where else if they accept poz blood and of course always get a rather stern no as a reply so I am in concourance with another that said that if the non poz populace wants blood which I know is always in short supply that they need to stock pile up their own blood such as was the case when my mother had to have surgery a few years ago .
 My partner who isn't poz after our now 21 years together was at that time even willing to donate some of his blood to replace any that was used but since she had supplied her own ahead of time it was not needed .
 Yes I see this as a major case of descrimation not only aginst us as the poz populace but just as humans as a whole !
Have you preformed your random act of kindness today ?

Offline bear60

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2007, 01:14:05 PM »
Just to get back on track....this thread is about GAY BLOOD from HIV negative GAY people.  If you are gay they dont want your blood.

In my earlier post I said that I had donated lots and lots of my GAY blood before the HIV issue ever came up.  They wanted it then.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

shreve39

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2007, 03:29:37 PM »
We're starting this thread so that folks can comment on the following news item posted on POZ.com:


January 23, 2007

Gay Blood? No Thanks

A 1977 ban preventing gay men from donating blood faces a growing chorus of critics who find it outdated and discriminatory. The San Jose Mercury News tracks the debate, sparked when California teenager Ronnie Childers was turned away last month from a school blood drive just because he is gay.

So what do folks think about this?

Peter




Well let's see MMmmm  ???
Subject: "Gay" Blood   :o
Thought: I didn't think you could even tell if the blood is gay or came from a gay male. Isn't technology great, "Yea right" who ever came up with this one was not to bright. Blood is Blood, it should not matter where it comes from, I have been working in the HIV/AIDS sector now for 14yrs and I thought I heard it all by now then this comes back around once again. Get over it sweetie, this type of Discrimination went out long ago. So if someone needs blood that bad I really don't think they are going to sit up and ask if it came from a Gay Male, but then again you do have those that are not the brightest in the room still alive walking among us all.
 :D God help us all with This One :D

Offline gordonh28

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2007, 04:26:08 PM »
I have tried to donate my own healthy HIV+ blood for my two hip replacement surgery's, and they were refused. The hospitals cannot even get pill dosages right so of coarse we cannot expect them to separate types of blood. In a way the HIV- gay community brings on this type of prejudice because of its own internal prejudiced views of those who are HIV+, and we get separated because we had the balls to test. Why should mainstream America trust the lot of you. We all should be having save sex, but obviously we are not. Thus you create the sub culture with the gay community.
Gordonh28 ( Al )

I have been in St Pete, Fl. for 9 years.
Moved here from Miami, I lived there for 12 years. (Diagnosed in 1995)

Labs
02/28/2008 VL>25    CD4>837 CD4%>37
05/08/2008 VL>25    CD4>875 CD4%>35
08/26/2008 VL>25    CD4>578 CD4%>38
11/04/2008 VL>25    CD4>879 CD4%>34
02/24/2009 VL>25    CD4>833 CD4%>36
05/04/2009 VL>25    CD4>762 CD4%>37
08/25/2009 VL>25    CD4>823 CD4%>37
10/21/2009 VL>25    CD4>1025 CD4%>34
03/13/2010 Vl>25     CD4>745  CD4%>34
04/06/2010 VL>25    CD4>877  CD4%>35
Norvir/Comb/Lexiva

Offline Beowulf52

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2007, 08:11:34 PM »
Why does this NOT surprise me? Since questions about IV drug use and "are you poz" are the norm before blood product donation, and since the blood donor sites go ahead if those answers are no, and since the blood is PRESUMABLY tested, what does being gay exclude someone from beng a donor? IN days when blood supplies are so short, you would think it wouldn't be an issue! IF the site really DOES test the blood, and if they don't they should be shut down anyway! I see ignorance prevails still! HOw sad!
Hugs to all
Bill RN (ret.)

Offline lydgate

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2007, 08:24:44 PM »
Glad to see this topic bring out several first- or second-time posters. Gordonh28, I was confused by the last three sentences of your post. Could you clarify?

I know this thread was started to get opinions from people. And it's clear that most of the posters feel the ban on gay blood donors who are negative for HIV and other diseases is blatantly discriminatory.

Still, I like to understand the historical roots of discrimination. Put another way: I like to understand what justifications are offered for discrimination and bigotry, the better to respond to it. (Hence my penchant for hyperlinks and copy-pasting on this and a few other threads.)
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline gordonh28

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2007, 10:31:39 PM »
As I was trying to explain, the gay community itself doesn't accept those of us that are HIV+. How many times do you see personals that request disease free prefered??????
That line really gets to me. I hope that clears up my mention of the split in the gay community about those of us that are, and those of that don't know they are, and truly don't want to know until a symptom appears that gives them a reason to get thier blood tested. So how can the blood banks really trust taking blood donations from someone who is gay? I am not including all gays, but there are quite a few who live in this world as though they could not be touched by the virus. It would be nice to see the HIV- men show just a little more compassion towards thier fellow gay man.
Yes, I know there are exceptions, but not as many as we think. Hope that cleared my 1st time minced words up a little. Good night, sweet dreams to all.
Gordonh28 ( Al )

I have been in St Pete, Fl. for 9 years.
Moved here from Miami, I lived there for 12 years. (Diagnosed in 1995)

Labs
02/28/2008 VL>25    CD4>837 CD4%>37
05/08/2008 VL>25    CD4>875 CD4%>35
08/26/2008 VL>25    CD4>578 CD4%>38
11/04/2008 VL>25    CD4>879 CD4%>34
02/24/2009 VL>25    CD4>833 CD4%>36
05/04/2009 VL>25    CD4>762 CD4%>37
08/25/2009 VL>25    CD4>823 CD4%>37
10/21/2009 VL>25    CD4>1025 CD4%>34
03/13/2010 Vl>25     CD4>745  CD4%>34
04/06/2010 VL>25    CD4>877  CD4%>35
Norvir/Comb/Lexiva

Offline Ckerins1

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2007, 10:46:14 AM »
Considering I live in an area of the country, Worcester, Massachusetts, where the transmission rates seem to be higher in the heterosexual community, I'm still surprised that these "GAY" exceptions exist. Don't people know that heterosexuals can get HIV too??  And I agree about the HIV stigma in the Gay Population...I love the question, "are you clean?"....Why yes, I shower at least once, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day depending on how active I am, would usually be my response! LOL

Personally I think we should start "Gay Blood Banks", and NOT ALLOW heterosexuals to receive gay blood.  There are plenty of people that would feel safer receiving blood that was donated HONESTLY with full disclosure,there's plenty of  blood out there that's untapped in our community! Bet that would really piss everyone off, even though they don't want our blood to begin with anyhow!

Just don't get me onto the new RULES here in MA as to reporting HIV cases by name.  We're one of the last states to be strong armed into this and people here are freaked.  I bet the number of people who go and get tested drops significantly out here now.  Just another insult added to the list of absurdities to the HIV/AIDS community at large here in MA...and then there's the marriage thing.....Yikes.  I have to get back to work, too much to discuss! <grin>

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2007, 01:50:44 PM »
One of my friends lives in Boston and just told me something about a new law where HIV+ people's names are going to be released somehow?

How is that even possible with all the HIPPA regulations etc?   

I agree that if they do that tons of people won't get tested.   On, the other hand if people relized just how many people in their area are affected perhaps we could get the focus back in America, and out of Africa.   

LOL, I love your idea of a seperate blood bank.   You know you might have a good business idea!

Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline SouthSam7

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Re: POZ News: "Gay Blood? No Thanks"
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2007, 02:49:32 PM »
I have a pretty liberal view on this subject.  If someone will die without blood, then they should not only take gay blood, but hiv+ blood, too!

Also, studies show that if your viral load is low or undetectable, you are less likely to give someone hiv with your blood.  No one wants to talk about that, but hiv positive discordant couples can have children without giving hiv to their partner because of this scientific fact!

I have no sympathy for the Red Cross and their supposed "shortage of blood"; it's their own fault.  Anyone have a different or similar view?

Sam in 'bama

 


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