can’t we all just get along?
As most of you know, I’m a HUGE blood donor advocate. I think everyone who can, should. There’s no reason not to. And when I’m not pregnant, you best believe I’m there every 8 weeks.
Reasons to donate blood:
1. You’re a hero, because you just saved someone’s life.
2. It only takes 10 minutes to fill a bag. 15 on a bad day. My record is 7 minutes.
3. What is more important that being selfless? Huh?
4. It’s super easy and you get juice and snacks after. And at the place I donate at, they serve you!
Reasons not to donate:
1. You’re a gay sexually active man….wait, WHAT?!?
Here I go on my soap box again!
I read an article today titled: “Federal ban continued against blood donations from sexually active gay men.” (To read the entire article, click here.) Oh and did that ever chap my ass. (No pun intended.)
According to the article, “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided to continue the 25-year-old blood donation ban on men who have had sex with other men since 1977. The members of the committee concluded that there was not enough scientific evidence to warrant a change to the policy…
…Despite the elevated risks in that group and the conclusion reached by the blood advisory committee, blood banks ensure that their donations go through rigorous testing. Each donation collected by the Blood Centers of the Pacific undergoes 13 tests, seven of which test for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis and other STDs. For the HIV/AIDS test, technology used by the blood bank can detect HIV up to seven days after the individual has been infected. Data also shows that the error rate for these tests is low.”
So let’s recap here: All gay men (who are sexually active) have HIV or AIDS and therefore should not donate blood. Hmm. Doesn’t sound right to me. I’ve known plenty of gay men who in fact did not have AIDS or even HIV. Something seems wrong with that statement.
And didn’t I just read that all the blood donations they receive go through a pretty rigorous testing phase ensuring that their blood is clean from major diseases? Yup, I did. So why the ban?
I’m disappointed that our country is still so nit-picky and full of hatred and discrimination that they feel the need to deny able bodied blood donors for the sake of being mean. We’re not talking about adopting children or marriage. We’re talking about giving time and blood. Saving lives. That area loses a potential 1,000 blood donors because of the ban. One thousand. I don’t understand. Turned away for a lifetime because they engage in ‘high risk’ behaviors.
High risk. Pssh. If you’re in a committed, monogamous, loving relationship? High risk?
Now, tell me if I’m wrong, because I can be…sometimes, but why aren’t men and women who have had multiple partners considered high risk? I remember seeing this poster at my doctor’s office once that said, “If you’ve had sex with one person, you’ve had sex with all the people they’ve had sex with.” Easily meaning, if you’ve slept with one person and they contracted an STD, chances are, they’re spreading it to all the other partners. Gay, straight, it makes no difference. Sex is sex. STDs aren’t bias.
And I’m sorry, but you can be considered ‘high risk’ even when you don’t take money for sex! (What’s up with that option on the questioner?)
In an e-mail Carly wrote to me she said, “I saw the article you posted about gay men and blood donations. It’s amazing how being gay is still soooo taboo in this country.”
Word, Carly. Word.
So I’m with Sen. Kerry, again*, and I will say that this ban is being completely discriminatory. And stupid. And mean. And down right poopy. (The last part was from me, not Sen. Kerry.)
Please donate blood. You will save a life.
And if you’re a sexually active gay man, your time will come to donate. (Or just lie.)
*Yes. I voted for Kerry in my first ever voting experience. It was the lesser of two evils. However, he’s an OK dude.