December #176 : Tainted Blood Policy - by Reed Vreeland

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents
 

Features

The POZ 100

The POZ 100: 1 to 25

The POZ 100: 26 to 50

The POZ 100: 51 to 75

The POZ 100: 76 to 100

From the Editor

On the Road to DC

Feedback

Letters- December 2011

The POZ Q+A

That's What Friends Are For

What You Need to Know

Promoting Safer Sex Through Occupy Wall Street?

Condoms Could Soon Be Legally Distributed in U.S. Prisons

California Authorizes Syringes Without Prescriptions

Reinterpreting the Red Ribbon

Bipartisan Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Launched

Med Students Are Poorly Trained on LGBT Health

Cracking Down on Fake AIDS Cures

We Hear You

Tainted Blood Policy

What Matters to You

Taking Back Our Lives

Treatment News

Can HIV Save Lives?

A New Way to Kill Viruses

Emergency Rooms Could Do Better at HIV Testing

Stop Brain Drain

Statin Drugs Reduce HIV Death Rates

Hepatitis C: More Common Than We Knew

GMHC Treatment Issues December 2011

Comfort Zone

Artfully Yours

POZ Heroes

The Princess Diary

   
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

December 2011

Tainted Blood Policy

by Reed Vreeland

Regulations instituted in 1983 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently prohibit any man who has had male sexual contact since 1977 from donating blood in the United States. The ban aimed to protect the blood supply at a time when screening tests for HIV did not yet exist and thousands of people were being infected by HIV-tainted transfusions and blood products. While it most certainly saved lives and prevented new infections in the early days of the epidemic, today it unfairly singles out gay men. The ban is “medically and scientifically unwarranted,” according to the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers, which account for the majority of the U.S. blood supply. England, Australia, Japan and Sweden have scrapped their blood bans on men who have sex with men (MSM) and adopted a 12-month sex-free deferral period, which allows MSM to donate only if they haven’t had sex with another man within the past year. Will the United States soon follow suit?

Here, we share some of your comments on the policies that restrict MSM from giving blood.

I have been a blood donor for the last 21 years, until this past September when I was diagnosed HIV positive. I am a straight, married man. We need to educate the country again about HIV/AIDS and have this ban on MSM lifted. All the blood gets tested anyway.

Anthony, Queens

My partner and I have been in a monogamous relationship for five years, and we both have tested HIV negative. How can we infect someone with something we don’t have? Yet, while this ban prohibits us and others like us from donating blood, do those in favor of it feel more comfortable taking blood from a hetero[sexual] donor who has multiple sex partners without condoms and shares [injection] drugs? 
—Peter, Detroit

By now everybody should know that sexual orientation is not the only vector from which “tainted” blood can come—especially the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], HHS [Health and Human Services] and the [American] Red Cross. To continue to selectively treat MSM as suspect, requiring “further study,” is yet another way to continue discriminating and giving fodder to the extremists that [believe] we are all disease carriers.
Dave Martin, Austin, Texas

I think that the FDA should lift this ban, but still ask the same questions. Those in high-risk groups [such as MSM and others] should have their blood tested at least twice for HIV. If the person is found [to be] HIV positive, then [he or she should] be notified and [should] not be able to donate again.
Michael, Haslett, Michigan

Unfortunately, I believe that this ban needs to be enforced considering that there are people who are [HIV] positive and don’t know it—or maybe do not care that they would infect others by giving tainted blood. We have to be vigilant about HIV. I [was] a member of the Gallon Club, but once I found out my status I never tried to give again. I can only hope that the last time I gave I was not positive. It was a long time between my last giving and finding that I am positive. Just prudent to have the ban.

Samuel Croft, Washington, DC

Isn’t it easier and “cleaner” to simply require [every] blood donor to be HIV-free? Sexual orientation is a silly barrier. It is blood-borne infection that ought to bar donation, nothing else.
Rick, California

Editor’s Note: Even though all donated blood in the United States is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases, the FDA and the American Red Cross have warned against donating blood as a way of getting tested. Always get tested before you donate.

Search: England, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Food and Drug Administration, FDA, men who have sex with men, MSM, blood transfusions, blood supply, blood ban


Scroll down to comment on this story.

email print



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


  comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    

anonymous, , 2011-12-05 11:14:04
Unfortunately the same restrictions apply to anyone who admits to having injected something, even once in their lifetime. Even if the event took place decades ago (consider what life was like in the the 60's) and you have been clean and have never tested positive for HIV or Hepatitis, you still cannot donate blood. These policies are not rationally implemented and the American public is paying a price for it in depleted blood supplies.

comments 1 - 1 (of 1 total)    

[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    fokisi
    Long Beach
    California


    slimcuteguy
    Asheville
    North Carolina


    Sexynyrican
    Brooklyn
    New York


    jacob2608
    Panama City Beach
    Florida
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Survey
Pop Watch

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.