Quantcast

Is It Fair to Keep Gay Men From Giving Blood?

News 2011/04/11 22:00:00
You!
Add Photos & Videos
Gay men in the U.S. and Canada who have had sex with other men at any point since 1977 are not allowed to donate blood. But in a break with a decades-old ban, English health officials recently said they may soon allow gay men to start donating blood.

There is, of course, a caveat. The New York Daily News reported that as long as the men have not had sex with another man for the past decade they will be allowed to donate. Sexually active gay men, however, are still banned.

England’s health minister said the police was being overturned because of concerns that it was discriminatory and could run afoul of equality laws. Donated blood is already screened for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but a small number of infections are routinely missed because there can be a lag time before they show themselves. The health office said the new 10-year rule would increase the risk of HIV-tainted blood entering the supply by less than 2.5 percent.

Gay rights advocates have bristled at the ban for years, arguing that many gay men practice safe sex, are in monogamous relationships or don't have sex at all.

Is it fair to ban gay men from donating blood?
Add a comment above

Top Opinion

  • sheratan 2011/04/12 00:32:02 (edited)
    No
    sheratan
    +12
    What if the gay person lies about its sexual orientation and then give blood ?

    The truth is that they have no way to know whether the person giving blood is lying or not; whether it is about his/her sexual orientation or drug addiction etc.

    This is why the "let's keep gay from donating blood" is a bit hypocritical.

    So a person who lie can donate blood and one who assume his sexual orientation cannot? Come on!

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • vbajapantyx 2012/07/27 01:09:23
    No
    vbajapantyx
    in 46 years i never donate blood..so i desided to be a good citizen and took my sister with me..she gave blood..but i was told i cannot because im gay...i NEVER been so embarrazed in my life.... i dont think is fair..BLOOD IS BLOOD...... SO IF SOMEONE IS DYING THEY GONNA LET HIM DIE....WOW
  • ItsYaFace 2011/05/05 11:50:20
    No
    ItsYaFace
    That's possibly the most stupid thing I've heard today - and I've heard a lot of stupid things today. What do they think could possibly happen? I mean, contrary to popular belief (amongst idiots), not every gay person has AIDS or HIV.
  • Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA 2011/04/30 11:56:00
    No
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    YES, it is fair.
    53% of gays have AIDS (CDC).


    Gays are the originators of the fatal AIDS disease. When it first came to the US it was EXCLUSIVELY a gay male disease. The primary method of transmission is through anal sex. The virus cannot be transmitted through the vaginal wall as it is through the rectal wall (Journal of the American Medical Association). This is why the disease is STILL primarily a gay male disease (CDC).

    Heterosexuals can only get AIDS from:

    Accepting anal sex from a male with AIDS.
    From blood containing the virus.
    Sharing needles with someone who has the virus.
  • Leah An... Torchma... 2011/06/02 15:11:26
    Leah Anderson
    +2
    Oh my god!!! you do not have to have anal sex to contract aids and your statistics are totally wrong!!!!!! It has never been exclusively a gay male disease it just wasn't recognised as aids before, it was thought to be the flu and if you did your research properly you would see that actually many more heterosexuals are being diagnosed with the virus now than gay people!!!
  • Leah An... Torchma... 2011/06/02 15:12:39
    Leah Anderson
    +3
    oh and gay people are not the originators it was monkeys who passed it on to humans between 1884 and 1924, i'm pretty sure the monkey didnt hang around in its tree waiting for a gay man to walk past!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  • resolveAIDS 2011/04/29 20:22:09
    No
    resolveAIDS
    The re:solve AIDS project is raising money to get a promising AIDS vaccine through human testing so that it can be produced and made available to the public. Check it out http://ResolveFromCDF.org
  • Vieuphoria 2011/04/25 18:56:09
    No
    Vieuphoria
    I've never understood why. It's stupid. I give blood, and before you're allowed to you have to take some tests.
  • Alex Oger 2011/04/22 22:45:25
    Yes
    Alex Oger
    blood and plasma are precious if man and women unions are not
  • Twinky 2011/04/22 00:34:45
    Yes
    Twinky
    I'm 27 and have given blood 24 times so far (in the UK you can only give blood once every 4 months)

    Giving blood isn't a 'right', it's a service.
    If it's more dangerous for a certain group to give blood than others -that should be TOP PRIORITY not whether you offend people!
    Even if it was the case that 10% of all white people had HIV so no white person could then give blood -I would support that decision and not give blood!

    Giving blood is to save people, not serve some personal need.
  • Twinky Twinky 2011/04/22 00:38:14
    Twinky
    How can the National Blood Service justify a policy which discriminates against gay men?
    The policy is in place for the sole purpose of protecting public health by minimising the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne viruses to patients through the blood which we supply to hospitals. Men who have ever had sex with men are at a higher risk of carrying such viruses. Since it is specific sexual behaviour which places individuals at risk, rather than their sexuality, there is no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with another man, nor of women who have sex with women.

    The policy has been adopted by all of the UK Blood Services on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/SaBTO... This body provides the Government with independent expert advice on issues of safety relating to blood, tissues, cells and organs.

    The criteria for the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is kept under regular review. The last review took place in January 2007, and a range of research (as outlined in the position statement) was commissioned. This research was presented to the July 2009 meeting of SaBTO, and forms part of the ongoing comprehensive review of the current policy.

    Why is this pol...


















































    How can the National Blood Service justify a policy which discriminates against gay men?
    The policy is in place for the sole purpose of protecting public health by minimising the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne viruses to patients through the blood which we supply to hospitals. Men who have ever had sex with men are at a higher risk of carrying such viruses. Since it is specific sexual behaviour which places individuals at risk, rather than their sexuality, there is no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with another man, nor of women who have sex with women.

    The policy has been adopted by all of the UK Blood Services on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/SaBTO... This body provides the Government with independent expert advice on issues of safety relating to blood, tissues, cells and organs.

    The criteria for the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is kept under regular review. The last review took place in January 2007, and a range of research (as outlined in the position statement) was commissioned. This research was presented to the July 2009 meeting of SaBTO, and forms part of the ongoing comprehensive review of the current policy.

    Why is this policy necessary if all blood donations are tested?
    The National Blood Service has a responsibility to assure the safety of the blood supplied to hospitals for patients. Although all blood donations are tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), syphilis and human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), there is a period after a person contracts an infection – known as the ‘window period' - when tests can't detect these viruses in the blood.

    This rigorous approach has resulted in the National Blood Service's good safety record. Since the introduction of testing for HIV in 1985, there have been three cases of transmission of the virus to patients through blood from donors in the ‘window period'. Although the risk of such transmission is low, we work on the basis that any transmission is one too many.

    Isn't this policy outdated, given the work which has been done to promote safe sex among gay men?
    While campaigns have certainly done a great deal to promote safer sex, there is still no such thing as completely safe sex. Decisions as to who can give blood are made using up-to-date evidence based on patterns of disease in the UK population.

    Men who have sex with men are currently at the greatest risk statistically of acquiring most sexually-transmitted infections, such as syphilis.

    Why is this exclusion lifelong? Wouldn't a one-year deferral pick up recently-acquired infections?
    Although most new HIV infections would be detected, there is a risk that some would still be undetectable. While changing the policy to a one-year deferral has been considered, the risk of transmission of HIV into the blood supply – based on current evidence – is deemed too high to justify a change in the policy. While the absolute risk is small, any transmission as a result of a change in policy would be one too many.

    How can the National Blood Service continue to justify this policy in the face of the latest statistics suggesting that HIV is now more prevalent in heterosexuals than gay men in this country?
    As a group, men who have sex with men have a far higher chance of carrying HIV than the heterosexual population..

    Statistics also show that the majority of new cases amongst heterosexuals were acquired in countries outside the UK where HIV is very common, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. For this reason, people who have been sexually active in such high-risk countries, or who have a partner who has been, are also excluded for one year after the last relevant sexual contact. This exclusion was agreed on the basis of the lower risk that this group presents overall and the need to maintain a sufficient supply of rarer blood types – such as Group B – for the treatment of conditions, such as Sickle Cell Disease, only found in patients from ethnic minority communities. This policy is also kept under regular review.

    Why doesn’t the National Blood Service exclude promiscuous heterosexuals?
    Current evidence shows that sex between men still represents the greatest risk factor for the transmission of infections which could be passed on through donated blood.

    Heterosexuals who engage in activities, sexual or otherwise, which put them at risk of blood-borne infections are excluded from donating blood. The length of this exclusion depends on the specific activity. For example, anyone who has ever had sex for drugs or money – regardless of their sexuality – is excluded permanently from giving blood, as is anyone who has ever injected drugs.

    How can it be fair to treat all gay men as high risk? What about those in long-term monogamous relationships?
    There are, clearly, a range of lifestyles among gay men, with many practising safer sex and seeking regular HIV testing. However, given that the National Blood Service must collect 7,000 donations of blood every day to meet demand from hospitals, it is not feasible to take a detailed sexual history from every potential donor.

    Isn’t there a risk of those gay men who don’t agree with the policy donating anyway?
    The National Blood Service relies entirely on volunteers; and the underlying principle on which people give blood has to be one of mutual trust. Our only aim in applying this policy is to ensure the safety of the blood on which patients depend. We believe that the vast majority of donors understand and respect this.

    It is not clear whether a change to the policy would make people more or less likely to comply with it; this is currently being considered. This research is due to be completed by Summer 2010.

    Other EU countries, such as Italy, have lifted this exclusion. Why doesn't the UK follow suit?
    Although donor selection policies in Europe are guided by EU law, each Member State must make decisions within this legislative framework based on evidence regarding patterns of diseases which can be transmitted by blood in their population. Although men who have ever had sex with men are deferred from donating in most European countries, this can account for occasional variations in policy within the EU.

    How can you justify excluding men who have sex with men from donating when there are blood shortages in this country?
    There has been a safe and sufficient blood supply in this country for many years, although the rate of blood donations is subject to fluctuations. This is when we make particular efforts to ask the public – particularly those with rare blood groups – to give blood.

    The safety of the blood supply is paramount; the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is in place to protect patient safety.

    Will the current exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood ever be lifted or amended?
    The criteria as to who can give blood are agreed by the Department of Health's Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs (SaBTO), made up of doctors, scientists, infection specialists and other independent experts. The committee makes recommendations to the Department of Health, with the current criteria being reviewed on a regular basis.

    Research is currently underway as to whether this policy could be relaxed to allow men who have sex with men to give blood one year after their last sexual contact. However, the policy would only be changed on the basis of clear evidence that patients would not be put at jeopardy. In addition, scientific advances in virus testing and inactivation are monitored. Any significant new developments in this area could lead to the policy being reviewed.

    Why can't gay men donate blood in the UK when they are able to donate organs?
    As with all clinical decisions about the use of donated blood and organs, the difference in the selection criteria rests on weighing up the potential risks and benefits to patients.

    There is a shortage of organs available for transplantation in this country, with more than 8,000 people currently on the waiting list, so every potential organ donation must be considered. The decision as to whether organs are suitable for transplantation is always made by a specialist taking into account the potential donor's medical history. The only two instances in which organ donation is currently completely ruled out are where the donor has been diagnosed with HIV or has, or is suspected of having, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

    Blood is taken from all potential organ donors and tested for transmissible diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.

    Whilst this difference in selection criteria may appear contradictory, weighing up the clinical benefits and risks to patients of any procedure is common medical practice.
    (more)
  • Sophie 2011/04/22 00:17:33
    Yes
    Sophie
    +1
    There is a leaflet you can read through in the UK explaining it is not to do with your SEXUALITY but about who you actually have SEX with.
    If a female has had sex with a man who has had sex then she can't give blood. If you have EVER been paid for sex you can't give blood. it is ONLY to do with your sexual activity. If you're gay but happen to have never had sex with a man then you CAN give blood.
    All those people who say it's because people are scared they'll catch gay is rubbish. It's because people who are ill should not be put more at risk of catching HIV/AIDS if they need a transfusion.
  • Twinky Sophie 2011/04/22 00:37:25
  • Inge 2011/04/15 19:23:17
    No
    Inge
    Straight people get HIV too, this is so stupid.
  • Sophie Inge 2011/04/22 00:42:50
    Sophie
    +3
    Have you looked at the research? Have you seen the percentage risks? Please explain why you feel it's stupid
  • Torchma... Inge 2011/04/30 11:37:16
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    They get it from homosexual people. You obviously don't know how AIDS is transmitted. CDC.
  • Leah An... Torchma... 2011/06/02 17:04:58
    Leah Anderson
    +3
    you are really thick and ur boring me now with ur narrowmindedness!!!!!
  • nonnonsenseguy 2011/04/15 05:02:52
    Undecided
    nonnonsenseguy
    Are they not supossed to test the donated blood for hiv and other things? It was my understanding that the red cross does.
  • Sophie nonnons... 2011/04/22 00:19:51
    Sophie
    +2
    Yes but there's a 6month 'window' for HIV which means unfortunately, if you've only caught it in the past 6 months no test will show it up.
    (Which is why if you have done certain things in the past 6 months - piercings tattoos, travelled to certain countries etc - you can't give blood until 6 months has past)
  • nonnons... Sophie 2011/04/22 04:53:58
    nonnonsenseguy
    +1
    Yes the Red Cross does ask such questions on their forms. I think anyone and I do mean anyone who sincerely wants to give blood should not angage in any activity that is of concern to the people taking the blood donation. It seems that there are other concerns than just the gay thing. Whether its giving blood or driving my car on the highway I do not want to be a danger to anyone.
  • Leah An... Sophie 2011/06/02 17:10:33
    Leah Anderson
    +1
    Its 3 months and there is a tst known as the NAAT that can detect HIV as little as 2 weeks after a person has contracted the virus, the only blood product that has to be used within that time is plasma and these are usually only donated from peole who have a long standing relatinship with the red cross.
  • XRenX 2011/04/15 00:13:05 (edited)
    No
    XRenX
    They are reducing the number of lives to be saved because of this. Straight people may have HIV as well and certain infections may be missed from them...what's the difference? If that's the case they might as well band everybody, (not saying they should). Another thing I should point out is....STRAIGHT PEOPLE HAVE ANAL SEX TOO! so really what is the difference b/c some straight people could have the same problem even though it may not be quite as common.
  • Sophie XRenX 2011/04/22 00:23:48
    Sophie
    +3
    Unfortunately it's still statistically far more likely for a sexually active homosexual to have contracted HIV than any other group of people.

    Also, they aren't the only group of people that are banned from giving blood. In the UK atleast, if you are a female who has ever had sex with a man who's had sex with a man -you can't give blood.
    If you've ever been paid for sex (even once/ long time ago) you can't give blood.
  • Jrogers 2011/04/14 14:27:33
    Undecided
    Jrogers
    +1
    I just hope that should I ever need a transfusion....the doctor doesnt give me tainted blood.
  • Rukasaki ~~ Hawkshadow 2011/04/14 02:43:50
  • ereare Rukasak... 2011/04/14 11:49:34
    ereare
    +1
    Anal sex is the most common method of transmission. Men who have sex with men are the most HIV infected group in America. The CDC estimates that they are over FORTY TIMES more likely to carry HIV than straight males.

    "Too many idiots in this world..."
    Good thing we have geniuses like you who have it all figured out. Now go show those scientists who manage these guidelines all the studies you have got published that refute the studies they are relying on.
  • Rukasak... ereare 2011/04/14 22:48:09
    Rukasaki ~~ Hawkshadow
    Your ignorance makes me laugh. According to your logic, because caucasians are most likely to have melanoma, they shouldn't be allowed to come in contact with sunlight. Because teenagers are more likely to have leukemia than adults, teenagers shouldn't be allowed to give blood either.
  • ereare Rukasak... 2011/04/15 00:25:39
    ereare
    +1
    "ignorance"? You aren't correcting me, you are just making analogies.

    "because caucasians are most likely to have melanoma, they shouldn't be allowed to come in contact with sunlight."
    That is a silly analogy, the risks are not comparable. Do you not understand the use of statistics in medicine (or at all)? Virtually every Caucasian goes out in the sun, but only 21 in every 100,000 acquire melanoma and only 3.25 out of 100,000 will die from it in a given year. In contrast, 522-989 out of every 100,000 MSM in a given year acquire HIV, and unless something changes, almost all of them (maybe in up to 1%, the HIV may not progress) will die from it (usually something caused by the weakened immune system once it progresses to AIDS).


    "Because teenagers are more likely to have leukemia than adults, teenagers shouldn't be allowed to give blood either."
    Teenagers under 16 are already banned from donating blood. The rate of
    Leukemia for 15-19 year olds is 3.2 per 100,000. Not even close to that of HIV for men who have sex with men.

    Haven't you thought that the scientists in charge of regulating the blood banks would have thought of these things, or do you just think you are that much smarter?

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/ne...
    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ski...
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/uscs...
    "ignorance"? You aren't correcting me, you are just making analogies.

    "because caucasians are most likely to have melanoma, they shouldn't be allowed to come in contact with sunlight."
    That is a silly analogy, the risks are not comparable. Do you not understand the use of statistics in medicine (or at all)? Virtually every Caucasian goes out in the sun, but only 21 in every 100,000 acquire melanoma and only 3.25 out of 100,000 will die from it in a given year. In contrast, 522-989 out of every 100,000 MSM in a given year acquire HIV, and unless something changes, almost all of them (maybe in up to 1%, the HIV may not progress) will die from it (usually something caused by the weakened immune system once it progresses to AIDS).


    "Because teenagers are more likely to have leukemia than adults, teenagers shouldn't be allowed to give blood either."
    Teenagers under 16 are already banned from donating blood. The rate of
    Leukemia for 15-19 year olds is 3.2 per 100,000. Not even close to that of HIV for men who have sex with men.

    Haven't you thought that the scientists in charge of regulating the blood banks would have thought of these things, or do you just think you are that much smarter?

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/ne...
    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ski...
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/uscs...
    (more)
  • Rukasak... ereare 2011/04/15 01:26:18
  • ereare Rukasak... 2011/04/15 13:41:54 (edited)
    ereare
    +1
    "So why do they refuse to even test homosexual blood?"
    For the reason you mentioned above: "No, it isn't 100% accurate." To quote the FDA, "While today's highly sensitive tests fail to detect less than one in a million HIV infected donors, it is important to remember that in the US there are over 20 million transfusions of blood, red cell concentrates, plasma or platelets every year. Therefore, even a failure rate of 1 in a million can be significant if there is an increased risk of undetected HIV in the blood donor population."

    MSM only make up an estimated 4% of the population, so you aren't loosing a major source of blood, yet they make up almost half of the people with HIV in the US, so you would be gaining a huge risk with only a relatively small benefit.

    For example, if you treated MSM the same as straight men for blood, you would have an estimated 500% increase in the risk of tainting the blood supply using the current HIV tests. Yet you would only gain, at best, a 4% increases in donors. And MSM have a much higher rate of other serious blood-borne infections as well, such as hepatitis.

    see the fda page for a more complete explanation
    http://www.fda.gov/biologicsb...

    http://www.bmj.com/content/33...
  • Rukasak... ereare 2011/04/17 17:43:11
    Rukasaki ~~ Hawkshadow
    I believe you mean "losing."
  • Twinky Rukasak... 2011/04/22 00:40:50
    Twinky
    +1
    Is that your only response to that person's very good explanation? You could either continue to explain why you disagree or thank them for explaining it to you. You kinda make yourself look petty by writing just that
  • Rukasak... Twinky 2011/04/22 02:08:42
    Rukasaki ~~ Hawkshadow
    Nah, I just realized I have a life not to be wasted by arguing with morons over the internet.
  • kermit the cupcake 2011/04/13 20:06:04
    No
    kermit the cupcake
    Im no expert, but im pretty sure sexual orientation has no effect on your blood. Its not fair for gay people to be discriminated. Wake up, people!! If we don't do something about this NOW then guess whats gonna happen?
    ill give you a hint. Holocaust, the cause of the civil rights movement. sound familiar?
  • ereare kermit ... 2011/04/14 12:10:43 (edited)
    ereare
    +1
    An estimated 20% gay men have the disease vs. 0.01% of straight men. Can you see the difference in risk/benefit from each sexual orientation for blood donation?

    "Holocaust, the cause of the civil rights movement"
    All you get for donating blood is a cookie. Are you really saying a group being denied a cookie will lead to them being held as a slaves, lynched, or gassed to death? Also, people who spent more than 3 months in the UK during the 1980s are denied (mad-cow disease). Are they going to be made into slaves too?

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/ne...
  • Ketel-One 2011/04/13 19:52:36 (edited)
    No
    Ketel-One
    +1
    They have blood just like everybody else. They are human so it doesn't matter. Besides you are tested for HIV anyway. And straight people have just as much chance of getting AIDS as gay people are
  • Twinky Ketel-One 2011/04/22 00:41:17
    Twinky
    How can the National Blood Service justify a policy which discriminates against gay men?
    The policy is in place for the sole purpose of protecting public health by minimising the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne viruses to patients through the blood which we supply to hospitals. Men who have ever had sex with men are at a higher risk of carrying such viruses. Since it is specific sexual behaviour which places individuals at risk, rather than their sexuality, there is no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with another man, nor of women who have sex with women.

    The policy has been adopted by all of the UK Blood Services on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/SaBTO... This body provides the Government with independent expert advice on issues of safety relating to blood, tissues, cells and organs.

    The criteria for the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is kept under regular review. The last review took place in January 2007, and a range of research (as outlined in the position statement) was commissioned. This research was presented to the July 2009 meeting of SaBTO, and forms part of the ongoing comprehensive review of the current policy.

    Why is this pol...


















































    How can the National Blood Service justify a policy which discriminates against gay men?
    The policy is in place for the sole purpose of protecting public health by minimising the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne viruses to patients through the blood which we supply to hospitals. Men who have ever had sex with men are at a higher risk of carrying such viruses. Since it is specific sexual behaviour which places individuals at risk, rather than their sexuality, there is no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with another man, nor of women who have sex with women.

    The policy has been adopted by all of the UK Blood Services on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/SaBTO... This body provides the Government with independent expert advice on issues of safety relating to blood, tissues, cells and organs.

    The criteria for the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is kept under regular review. The last review took place in January 2007, and a range of research (as outlined in the position statement) was commissioned. This research was presented to the July 2009 meeting of SaBTO, and forms part of the ongoing comprehensive review of the current policy.

    Why is this policy necessary if all blood donations are tested?
    The National Blood Service has a responsibility to assure the safety of the blood supplied to hospitals for patients. Although all blood donations are tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), syphilis and human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), there is a period after a person contracts an infection – known as the ‘window period' - when tests can't detect these viruses in the blood.

    This rigorous approach has resulted in the National Blood Service's good safety record. Since the introduction of testing for HIV in 1985, there have been three cases of transmission of the virus to patients through blood from donors in the ‘window period'. Although the risk of such transmission is low, we work on the basis that any transmission is one too many.

    Isn't this policy outdated, given the work which has been done to promote safe sex among gay men?
    While campaigns have certainly done a great deal to promote safer sex, there is still no such thing as completely safe sex. Decisions as to who can give blood are made using up-to-date evidence based on patterns of disease in the UK population.

    Men who have sex with men are currently at the greatest risk statistically of acquiring most sexually-transmitted infections, such as syphilis.

    Why is this exclusion lifelong? Wouldn't a one-year deferral pick up recently-acquired infections?
    Although most new HIV infections would be detected, there is a risk that some would still be undetectable. While changing the policy to a one-year deferral has been considered, the risk of transmission of HIV into the blood supply – based on current evidence – is deemed too high to justify a change in the policy. While the absolute risk is small, any transmission as a result of a change in policy would be one too many.

    How can the National Blood Service continue to justify this policy in the face of the latest statistics suggesting that HIV is now more prevalent in heterosexuals than gay men in this country?
    As a group, men who have sex with men have a far higher chance of carrying HIV than the heterosexual population..

    Statistics also show that the majority of new cases amongst heterosexuals were acquired in countries outside the UK where HIV is very common, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. For this reason, people who have been sexually active in such high-risk countries, or who have a partner who has been, are also excluded for one year after the last relevant sexual contact. This exclusion was agreed on the basis of the lower risk that this group presents overall and the need to maintain a sufficient supply of rarer blood types – such as Group B – for the treatment of conditions, such as Sickle Cell Disease, only found in patients from ethnic minority communities. This policy is also kept under regular review.

    Why doesn’t the National Blood Service exclude promiscuous heterosexuals?
    Current evidence shows that sex between men still represents the greatest risk factor for the transmission of infections which could be passed on through donated blood.

    Heterosexuals who engage in activities, sexual or otherwise, which put them at risk of blood-borne infections are excluded from donating blood. The length of this exclusion depends on the specific activity. For example, anyone who has ever had sex for drugs or money – regardless of their sexuality – is excluded permanently from giving blood, as is anyone who has ever injected drugs.

    How can it be fair to treat all gay men as high risk? What about those in long-term monogamous relationships?
    There are, clearly, a range of lifestyles among gay men, with many practising safer sex and seeking regular HIV testing. However, given that the National Blood Service must collect 7,000 donations of blood every day to meet demand from hospitals, it is not feasible to take a detailed sexual history from every potential donor.

    Isn’t there a risk of those gay men who don’t agree with the policy donating anyway?
    The National Blood Service relies entirely on volunteers; and the underlying principle on which people give blood has to be one of mutual trust. Our only aim in applying this policy is to ensure the safety of the blood on which patients depend. We believe that the vast majority of donors understand and respect this.

    It is not clear whether a change to the policy would make people more or less likely to comply with it; this is currently being considered. This research is due to be completed by Summer 2010.

    Other EU countries, such as Italy, have lifted this exclusion. Why doesn't the UK follow suit?
    Although donor selection policies in Europe are guided by EU law, each Member State must make decisions within this legislative framework based on evidence regarding patterns of diseases which can be transmitted by blood in their population. Although men who have ever had sex with men are deferred from donating in most European countries, this can account for occasional variations in policy within the EU.

    How can you justify excluding men who have sex with men from donating when there are blood shortages in this country?
    There has been a safe and sufficient blood supply in this country for many years, although the rate of blood donations is subject to fluctuations. This is when we make particular efforts to ask the public – particularly those with rare blood groups – to give blood.

    The safety of the blood supply is paramount; the exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood is in place to protect patient safety.

    Will the current exclusion of men who have sex with men from giving blood ever be lifted or amended?
    The criteria as to who can give blood are agreed by the Department of Health's Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs (SaBTO), made up of doctors, scientists, infection specialists and other independent experts. The committee makes recommendations to the Department of Health, with the current criteria being reviewed on a regular basis.

    Research is currently underway as to whether this policy could be relaxed to allow men who have sex with men to give blood one year after their last sexual contact. However, the policy would only be changed on the basis of clear evidence that patients would not be put at jeopardy. In addition, scientific advances in virus testing and inactivation are monitored. Any significant new developments in this area could lead to the policy being reviewed.

    Why can't gay men donate blood in the UK when they are able to donate organs?
    As with all clinical decisions about the use of donated blood and organs, the difference in the selection criteria rests on weighing up the potential risks and benefits to patients.

    There is a shortage of organs available for transplantation in this country, with more than 8,000 people currently on the waiting list, so every potential organ donation must be considered. The decision as to whether organs are suitable for transplantation is always made by a specialist taking into account the potential donor's medical history. The only two instances in which organ donation is currently completely ruled out are where the donor has been diagnosed with HIV or has, or is suspected of having, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

    Blood is taken from all potential organ donors and tested for transmissible diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.

    Whilst this difference in selection criteria may appear contradictory, weighing up the clinical benefits and risks to patients of any procedure is common medical practice.
    (more)
  • Ketel-One Twinky 2011/04/22 01:05:33
    Ketel-One
    Wow I'm not reading all of that. I stopped after like the second sentence. I really don't even know if you are agreeing with me or not. If your'e not I really don't care what you say.
  • chrisjay 2011/04/13 19:47:53
    Yes
    chrisjay
    I mean if being gay really genetic like a lot of homosexuals say chances are 2the gene is in the blood and straight people don't want to go in dying from a car accident and then have issues when they come out...its only fair
  • ItsYaFace chrisjay 2011/05/05 11:54:01
    ItsYaFace
    That's ridiculous. Does getting blood from tall people make you tall? Does getting blood from black people make you black?
  • chrisjay ItsYaFace 2011/05/05 13:55:01
    chrisjay
    No but then again those are not genetic mutations and those are determined by your parents not exposure to certain chemicals. Besides science hasn't figured out whether it possible to transmit being gay because they haven't found a gay gene so just to be on the safe side...No they shouldn't be allowed to donate.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 28 Next » Last »

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2014/10/01 00:21:29

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals