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23 March 2005 @ 01:15 pm
We aren't going to let you contribute  
So, I gave blood today for the first time in a few years (due to getting various vaccinations, a piercing, possible exposure to WNV, yadda). It was good to donate again. Had to work a bit on the hematrocrit and BP, but eventually I passed.

When you go to donate they give you a nice little questionnaire to fill out, and it had changed a bit since the last time I completed one. I wasn't surprised to see questions about Malaria, SARS, WNV, and CJD/vCJD. Where have you traveled, do you feel well today, have you ever used illegal drugs, yadda - all normal stuff.

I was surprised, however, to see the following:

Male donors: Have you had sex with another male, even once, since 1977?

Female donors: In the past 12 months, have you had sex with a male who has had sex even once, since 1977 with another male.

Then I read the little brochure, which says:

It is possible you may have been infected with HIV/AIDS and still have a negative test result. There is a window period when you can be infectious and testing will not detect it. If you donate during that period of time, your blood will infect the patient.

If you answer "Yes" to any of the following questions, you could be at risk for HIV/AIDS and cannot donate.

Positive test for HIV/AIDS
Injected illegal drugs
Male-to-male sex - Are you a man who has had intimate/sexual contact with another man, even once, since 1977?
Sexual Assault
Blood or body fluids
Risk contact

I was... there aren't really words. *sigh*

Aren't we beyond this yet?

It makes sense to me that they have questions such as "Were you born in or have you lived in any of the following countries since 1977: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria?".

Being in the medical field, I really *do* understand they are playing the numbers and I can speak in detail about safety and the whys and wherefors... Understanding the whys doesn't make me feel any better about the questions in my gut *sigh* I dunno, maybe I just haven't paid attention to these questions in a long time, but wouldn't it be better to talk about unprotected sexual activity or untested partners or something?

-the redhead-
...understands, but it still rubs me the wrong way a bit...
prettypammieprettypammie on March 23rd, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
Waitaminnit- does a "yes" answer to the male-to-male question disqualify someone from donating blood???

Buddha Buckblaisepascal on March 23rd, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
And many members of the Queer community are not happy about it, either.

It's a permanant disqualification, as opposed to a 1-year disqualification, as well.
-the redhead-theredhead on March 24th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)


-the redhead-
Buddha Buckblaisepascal on March 23rd, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
It rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I haven't donated blood since 1989 because of an (ultimately flawed) screening test put me on the do-not-donate list. I could petition to be reinstated, but because of that question, what's the point?

Many people who know they are clean lie and donate anyway. I refuse to do so, and my blood stays in me. If they would change their policy (which they have refused to do so), I would donate in a heartbeat.
Angelamisoranomegami on March 23rd, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC)
It's purely politcal. My mother said when she was growing up that black people weren't allowed to donate since many white people would rather bleed to death than receive black blood. Of course they said it was because the black community had a 'higher' level of STD's. My opinion? If someone would rather bleed to death than get a blood transfusion from a gay man, let them bleed to death.
Abby Franquemonthuaman on March 24th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
It's a difficult thing, and totally political.

I myself am not allowed to donate blood or organs or tissue or human milk or ANYTHING due to having had Hep A (the kind you get from human feces) when I was a kid, which happened because of living in the third world where there's ample opportunity to be exposed to other people's feces. I've never had a problem accepting *that* as a reason for disqualification. But there are many, many others which just... oy.

To those who give blood, and especially those who donate specialty blood products like platelets, or single-donor carefully matched stuff and what have you, my personal thanks for doing it. People who did that saved my father's life time and time again, and I wish I could be one.
-the redhead-theredhead on March 24th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
*nod* Back in the day when I had that incident with the horse I got more than my share of blood that others had donated, which is why I donate myself.

I'm still kind of boggling over this, and am extremely disappointed. Again, I do know *why* they do it they way they do, but am disappointed they have not tried to work at some of the alternatives. Politics over stuff like this makes me crazy.

-the redhead-