FDA: Gay Blood Icky!

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by OldCorpse, May 23, 2007.

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  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #1
    Let's see. We're already shooting ourselves in the foot by hounding gays out of the military when we are short of recruits. We already are shooting ourselves in the foot by dismissing many Arabic linguists whom we are desperately short of, because they are gay. And we are shooting ourselves in the foot by the FDA excluding healthy gays from donating critically needed blood to alleviate blood shortages, giving them lifelong bans simply for being gay. Hmm. What price homophobia? Not just for the gays affected, but for the whole society?

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/256342/fda_insists_no_donations_of_gay_blood.html

    "FDA Insists: No Donations of Gay Blood; It's Too Icky
    Look Out Lesbians- You're Next!

    Homophobic members of the Food and Drug Administration have discovered a way to live forever; therefore they can stand behind their ignorant decision to disallow men with alternative lifestyles from donating blood.

    The decision was first made in 1983 as a means to prevent the spread of HIV through transfusions. A noble suggestion during a time when HIV / AIDS was an almost exclusive disease for gay, white males only.

    On Wednesday the FDA reminded the public of their policy, via their website, despite being criticized by the Red Cross in 2006 who called it "medically and scientifically unwarranted."

    "I am disappointed, I must confess," said Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of America's Blood Centers, whose members provide nearly half the nation's blood supply.

    Since 1977, any male with the courage to donate blood has been asked a few pre-poke questions just as a formality. Among the questions- "Have you had sex, even once, with another man?"

    Answer "yes" and you'll be permanently banned from ever being a secret samaritan."
     
  2. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #2
    I fill out a questionnaire each time I donate blood, and that is indeed one of the questions they ask. They rule out large classes of people because they believe them to be statistically more likely to have unsafe blood.

    They ask me about being in Britain (because of mad cow disease, I think), having been in certain other countries, and having been in jail, as well as certain information about medical history and, of course, those "lifestyle" questions.

    Ever heard the phrase "throwing the baby out with the bath water?" It seems apropos here.

    If there's enough donated blood to go around, perhaps this overscreening makes the task for blood centers simpler: pick only people not associated with past or present blood supply problems.

    But donor centers often put out a call for more blood donors when supplies are low (the week between Christmas and New Years is often one of those times), and it's a shame they blacklist whole groups without paying more attention to individuals, or having ways to routinely screen blood to find out if it is indeed good or bad.
     
  3. Queso macrumors G4

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    #3
    I know my blood is HIV and hepatitis free and I haven't eaten beef or lamb since the mid-80s so variant CJD is unlikely to be in there either.

    Which possibly makes it amongst the cleanest blood in the UK. I wondered whether I should get some of it frozen in a blood bank just in case anything happens to me. After all, I wouldn't want my body polluted with blood from some beef-eating sleeparound shagbag who just happens to prefer dipping the sausage in the front entrance, would I?
     
  4. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    How about closet cases? Do they banned them too? :rolleyes:
     
  5. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Wouldn't they rather test all blood rather than depending on people's honesty and statistics? :eek:
     
  6. TheBobcat macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I'm certain they test blood for diseases anyway when it enters the blood bank, so this really seems to be a non-issue. So either its a case of we don't want to change because we don't want to, or no one wants to take up the cause in government.

    How retarded. I might tell them to shove it the next time they call me to donate.
     
  7. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #7
    They do test all blood, they have too, it's too risky otherwise.

    The logic might be that no test is 100% effective, so eliminating high risk groups reduces the chance of a false negative.

    Personally, I don't think that is the reason.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    What if they find out that you're a carrier of TeH Ghey but you're not symptomatic? :eek:

    Seriously, if the Red Cross and medical experts agree that testing is sufficient at this point to end this limitation, the FDA should work with them to make it happen. Blood donation is such a classic case of the issue where needs are critical because so few people donate. While the easiest solution would be to increase participation rates, at this point, including people who are willing but not allowed is also not only justified morally but pragmatically as well!
     
  9. Lyle macrumors 68000

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    #9
    ... or, along the same lines, that they don't want to pay for the expense of collecting and testing blood that (they believe) is more statistically likely to be deemed unusable once it's tested.

    No, me neither. It sounds like an outdated practice that needs to change.
     
  10. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    #10
    Like it! Like it a lot! :p *freezes some of own blood too*
     
  11. leekohler macrumors G5

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    One would think. I tried to donate in the early 80's and wasn't allowed. It made sense back then, but now? Come on. It's ridiculous.
     
  12. swiftaw macrumors 603

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    #12
    One of the funniest things I've read in a while.
     
  13. nbs2 macrumors 68030

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    Both Lori and I are banned for differing reasons. While neither of us is displaying any sort of symptoms of any diseases, and I really doubt that we have them since you end up getting tested for a million and one different things, I really don't have an issue with this.

    In the end it comes down to statistical risk and overcoming inertia. If at some point the risk of having the disease combined with the risk of inefficacy of tests is too high, they cut you off. It's much easier to reach that point than it is to say that you have sufficient evidence to change the policy. Between caution, inertia, and the desire to have irrefutable evidence - it's tough to change the status quo on health issues. I'm sure that if the FDA had their way, you would need to be a perfect specimen to be allowed to donate. Sometimes being too cautious is bad, but when the severity of a failed screening is so high - maybe you want to take that caution.
     
  14. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    how do you know if the FDA has banned you? do they actually tell you that, "sorry sir, you can't be a donor cos you messed around with dudes"?
     
  15. leekohler macrumors G5

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    #15
    Yes- they do. Straight to your face and in no uncertain terms.
     
  16. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #16
    I used to donate plasma on a semi regular basis -- until somebody crossed the lines on the machine, that is. Then I turned gay and they told me not to come back.
     
  17. Doctor Q Administrator

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    #17
    What if somebody turns gay while the donation is in progress? Can they use the plasma they've collected so far?
     
  18. wongulous macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I'm thinking of lying and donating anyway. Has anyone done this?

    I ask because I recently got into an argument about lying under oath and I found myself at a loss for a defense except in an extremely niche scenario, and even then it may have fit with my moral compass but I was still left with fear of a few details of it being uncovered that I lied, or unwittingly making things worse for others involved. So I changed my opinion to that of no one ever lying under oath being the best way to do it. Granted, this is quite different from being under oath when asked about my orientation and sexual involvement, but I'm wondering if it would bring about an intra-moral crisis. ;)
     
  19. sycho macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I believe that this would fall under the same kinda of thing as if you had AIDS and were sleeping with people and not telling them. Pretty much, don't lie on the questionare, as you could get in big ****.
     
  20. synth3tik macrumors 68040

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    #20
    In 1983 I could see people getting upset about it, but the FDA would be in a better spot. Now in 2007 any blood borne infection would be wide spread through out all people, no matter sex, nationality, or lifestyle.

    It's just stupid to beg the public for help, then cross out a whole group of people with no medical reason. They test blood, people whom have had sex with guys can still check no.

    makes me want to stop giving blood, but then it's not really the FDA that suffers. :(
     
  21. SilvorX macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Health Canada has the same sort of policy, mainly to prevent issues with hepatitis and whatnot that occurred 10 years ago, or something
     
  22. KingYaba macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Why not lie and say you are strait for the sake of donating blood? I doubt anyone here agrees that prohibiting individuals with "clean" blood on the basis of sexual orientation is an acceptable practice, however if they truely need it...
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

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    #23
    I don't think bodies of water are eligible to donate either. :( ;)
     
  24. Doctor Q Administrator

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    #24
    The question is who would decide if the blood is clean.

    Do blood banks really test for all possible blood problems and use the interviews merely to save money (by preventing the costs of blood draws/processing/testing) when problems are statistically more likely?

    Or are some health risks of donated blood not detectable in testing, so they rely on the interviews for added safety? If that's the case, and I was receiving blood, I'd much rather have the blood bank decide what "safe" depends on, from honestly answered questions, than have individual donors decide if they consider their blood "safe" and pick and choose what questions to answer honestly.

    Rather than encourage dishonesty, with the possibility that it could put somebody's health at risk, I suggest working toward changing the rules about these group-exclusion policies.
     
  25. solvs macrumors 603

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    #25
    I got turned down because of an antibiotic I was taking. Doesn't cause any problems, but it was a "just in case" thing. I think it's funny that they're always begging for donations, but they sure do seem to turn down a lot of people with perfectly good blood. Having worked at a hospital, seeing the process up close, I'd hope they'd test all blood or at least donors first, and not just guess based on orientation and what you say on a form. But that seems to be exactly what they're doing.

    Dunno, I'd rather have a clean gay dude who's doing it out of the kindness of his heart than some straights I know who need the extra cash. :rolleyes:
     
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