Should Gays Be Allowed to Donate Blood?

No. The risk of getting HIV from a pint of blood is now only one per 2 million units transfused, so why mess with something that prevents the spread of AIDS?

"Should Gays Be Allowed to Donate Blood?
Study Says Gay Men Could Add 219,000 Pints to Nation's Supply; Government Now Reviewing Ban

(CBS) Should gay men be allowed to donate blood? "...

Entire article here: cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/10/health/main6568520.shtml

"Blood Safety Threatened

MEDIA ADVISORY, June 10 /Christian Newswire/ -- With the public focused on the calamity of the Gulf oil spill, another disaster that could affect millions of lives is in the making. The federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability is holding meetings on June 10 and June 11 to consider lifting the ban on gay blood. Cliff Kincaid, president of the public policy group, America's Survival, Inc. (ASI), is scheduled to testify in favor of the ban."...

Entire entry here: christiannewswire.com/news/9632614113.html

[quote="SwizzleStick, post:1, topic:201659"]
No. The risk of getting HIV from a pint of blood is now only one per 2 million units transfused, so why mess with something that prevents the spread of AIDS?

"Should Gays Be Allowed to Donate Blood?
Study Says Gay Men Could Add 219,000 Pints to Nation's Supply; Government Now Reviewing Ban

(CBS) Should gay men be allowed to donate blood? "...

Entire article here: cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/10/health/main6568520.shtml

[/quote]

I think the more relevant statistic would be what is the risk of getting HIV tainted blood from a gay man? I highly doubt it would be 1 per 2 million units, since you are diluting the statistic with heterosexual men and women.

These appear to be the currently performed test for donated blood as posted by the Blood-Mobile folks:

"In the United States, at the time of this writing, before your donated Blood is made available for transfusion, it will be tested as follows:

ABO Typing - provides determination of Blood type: A, B, O, or AB.

Rh Factor Determination - indicates positive or negative Blood type.

Blood Group Antibodies - indicates unexpected antibodies that may be a result of prior transfusion, pregnancy or other factors.

Hepatitis B Surface Antigen - indicates a present infection (hepatitis) or carrier state of hepatitis B virus.

Antibody to Hepatitis B Core - additional test that detects a present or past infection with the hepatitis B virus.

Antibody to Hepatitis C Virus - indicates antibody to a virus that causes hepatitis C (responsible for non-A non-B hepatitis.) The mean incubation time is six to eight weeks.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) - identifies a liver enzyme that, when increased, may indicate undetectable forms of hepatitis.

Antibody to HTLV - 1 and 2 - indicates the antibody to a virus that causes adult T-cell leukemia, among other things.

Antibody to HIV 1 and 2 - indicates an infection with Human Immune deficiency Virus.

Syphilis - screens for this dangerous venereal disease."

So it also appears that testing should demonstrate infection-free blood from homosexuals acceptable for use.

[quote="Bob_Aliano, post:4, topic:201659"]
These appear to be the currently performed test for donated blood as posted by the Blood-Mobile folks:

"In the United States, at the time of this writing, before your donated Blood is made available for transfusion, it will be tested as follows:

ABO Typing - provides determination of Blood type: A, B, O, or AB.

Rh Factor Determination - indicates positive or negative Blood type.

Blood Group Antibodies - indicates unexpected antibodies that may be a result of prior transfusion, pregnancy or other factors.

Hepatitis B Surface Antigen - indicates a present infection (hepatitis) or carrier state of hepatitis B virus.

Antibody to Hepatitis B Core - additional test that detects a present or past infection with the hepatitis B virus.

Antibody to Hepatitis C Virus - indicates antibody to a virus that causes hepatitis C (responsible for non-A non-B hepatitis.) The mean incubation time is six to eight weeks.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) - identifies a liver enzyme that, when increased, may indicate undetectable forms of hepatitis.

Antibody to HTLV - 1 and 2 - indicates the antibody to a virus that causes adult T-cell leukemia, among other things.

Antibody to HIV 1 and 2 - indicates an infection with Human Immune deficiency Virus.

Syphilis - screens for this dangerous venereal disease."

So it also appears that testing should demonstrate infection-free blood from homosexuals acceptable for use.

[/quote]

Here's a link to info regarding the tests that the Red Cross routinely runs on donated blood.

redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/what-happens-donated-blood/blood-testing

I did not realize that the testing was so extensive. That realization has given me pause, since the need for blood transfusions is constant and huge. But, it still seems prudent to just not use high-risk groups of people for donors.

[quote="SwizzleStick, post:5, topic:201659"]
Here's a link to info regarding the tests that the Red Cross routinely runs on donated blood.

redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/what-happens-donated-blood/blood-testing

I did not realize that the testing was so extensive. That realization has given me pause, since the need for blood transfusions is constant and huge. But, it still seems prudent to just not use high-risk groups of people for donors.

[/quote]

I don't think that those at risk of transmitting HIV infection are permitted to give blood in Canada. This would include not only actively homosexual males, but also any male who is actively bisexual, and any of his female partners.

Current eligibility criteria for the Red Cross regarding HIV,AIDS:

"HIV, AIDS

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

You are at risk for getting infected if you:

•have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
•are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
•have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
•have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
•received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia
•were born in, or lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea,Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria, since 1977.
•since 1977, received a blood transfusion or medical treatment with a blood product in any of these countries, or
•had sex with anyone who, since 1977, was born in or lived in any of these countries. Learn more about HIV Group O, and the specific African countries where it is found.

You should not give blood if you have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS

•unexplained weight loss (10 pounds or more in less than 2 months)
•night sweats
•blue or purple spots in your mouth or skin
•white spots or unusual sores in your mouth
•lumps in your neck, armpits, or groin, lasting longer than one month
•diarrhea that won’t go away
•cough that won’t go away and shortness of breath, or
•fever higher than 100.5 F lasting more than 10 days."...

redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical-listing

[quote="SwizzleStick, post:1, topic:201659"]
No. The risk of getting HIV from a pint of blood is now only one per 2 million units transfused, so why mess with something that prevents the spread of AIDS?

"Should Gays Be Allowed to Donate Blood?
Study Says Gay Men Could Add 219,000 Pints to Nation's Supply; Government Now Reviewing Ban

(CBS) Should gay men be allowed to donate blood? "...

Entire article here: cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/10/health/main6568520.shtml

[/quote]

let them donate, but automatically test it for hiv/aids...wait we should do that for everyone

[quote="VetA, post:8, topic:201659"]
let them donate, but automatically test it for hiv/aids...wait we should do that for everyone

[/quote]

Every unit of blood donated, from anyone, is already tested for HIV/AIDS.

Donors are screened for HIV and the core tests recommended by the World Health Organization are:

* Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
* Antibody to Hepatitis C
* Antibody to HIV, usually subtypes 1 and 2
* Serologic test for Syphilis

I'm torn on the issue... On one hand, it would give us an opportunity to get much more blood donated, and of course they would test the blood and be able to discover if blood is infected. It may even serve as a warning to those gay men/women who have HIV/AIDS and don't realize it until after getting notified from the testing company.

But on the other hand, why allow a high risk group to donate? Why waste their time and the tester's time and resources by testing blood that is very likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS? :shrug:

Have you all ever donated blood? Do you remember all the questions that they asked?

(See SwizzleStick's post)

There is no need to ban gays from giving blood -- some gay men are chaste, after all. And other "straight" men have had sex with another man since 1977. So let the Red Cross screen people just as they have been.

Here are some interesting statistics showing that HIV/AIDS infection is pretty rampant across the board, and not just in the homosexual community.

Almost 25% in the heterosexual community.

If you factor in the IV drug use in the heterosexual community, the number rises to 46%.

If you factor in IV drug use in the homosexual community, that number rises to 53%.

So you can see, that the numbers for HIV/AIDS infection is running pretty close, no matter the sexuality.

avert.org/usa-statistics.htm

[quote="justamoose89, post:11, topic:201659"]
I'm torn on the issue... On one hand, it would give us an opportunity to get much more blood donated, and of course they would test the blood and be able to discover if blood is infected. It may even serve as a warning to those gay men/women who have HIV/AIDS and don't realize it until after getting notified from the testing company.

But on the other hand, why allow a high risk group to donate? Why waste their time and the tester's time and resources by testing blood that is very likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS? :shrug:

[/quote]

my husband and i are both in school studying to be medical lab techs sooooo...

i come to think of everyone as high risk...anyone that works in hospitals, drs offices, multiple partners, drug users, getting a tattoo, etc..the list goes on and on.

[quote="reaganjn, post:14, topic:201659"]
my husband and i are both in school studying to be medical lab techs sooooo...

i come to think of everyone as high risk...anyone that works in hospitals, drs offices, multiple partners, drug users, getting a tattoo, etc..the list goes on and on.

[/quote]

Excellent point.

As long as the person wanting to give blood is honest in the screening questions and the blood is consistently tested properly and thoroughly, one's sexual orientation shouldn't be the issue.

[quote="SwizzleStick, post:5, topic:201659"]

I did not realize that the testing was so extensive. That realization has given me pause, since the need for blood transfusions is constant and huge. But, it still seems prudent to just not use high-risk groups of people for donors.

[/quote]

I agree.

However, the risk group, as currently designated, is any man who has ever had sex with another man, at any time in his life. This is far, far broader than the actual risk group.

Standard tests for HIV have a small window, after someone is infected, in which the virus is not detected. That window is less than three weeks. That three week period is the actual risk. To be extra safe, the three largest blood banking organizations in the US would like the deferral period set to 12 months since the last incident of male-male sex.
msnbc.msn.com/id/18827137/

A one year deferral, when the risk window is less than three weeks, is more than adequate precaution. The three blood banking organizations have been supporting this change to FDA regulations since 2006.

[quote="twopekinguys, post:13, topic:201659"]
Here are some interesting statistics showing that HIV/AIDS infection is pretty rampant across the board, and not just in the homosexual community.

Almost 25% in the heterosexual community.

If you factor in the IV drug use in the heterosexual community, the number rises to 46%.

[/quote]

Avert.org is a reliable source for information about HIV/AIDS, but I wanted to clarify the stats you cite, since they may not be clear to others. Those statistics refer the the percentage of people in the US living with AIDS, and the means by which the HIV infection occurred.

Heterosexual transmission is an important route of transmission, especially among African-Americans and Hispanics, whose risk is several fold higher than among whites or Asian-Americans. African-Americans and Hispanics have, since as far back as 1983 (when I first noticed the numbers) have been bearing a disproportionate burden of this disease. Because the heterosexual transmission is predominantly occurring in minority communities, its largely off the radar of American popular culture/news/conventional wisdom.

However, it is worth noting that your statistics show that 47% of infections were transmitted via male-male sex. And this is far out of proportion to the percentage of men who engage in male-male sex. So, yes, HIV is still very much concentrated among men who are gay, or who don't identify as gay, but engage in male-male sex from time to time.

They test all blood for infectious disease before it is given to a patient, so sexual orientation is not an issue.

[quote="Et_Cetera, post:19, topic:201659"]
They test all blood for infectious disease before it is given to a patient, so sexual orientation is not an issue.

[/quote]

No test is 100% perfect, that's why they ask all of the questions before you donate. And sexual orientation is never the issue, the question is as a male whether you have sex with other males. You can be the gayest man in the world, but if the answer to the question is "No", you can donate, assuming everything else is in order.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.