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  1. #1

    Ban kept for gay men donating blood

    Gay men remain banned for life from donating blood, the government said Wednesday, leaving in place — for now — a 1983 prohibition meant to prevent the spread of hiv through transfusions.

    In March 2006, the Red Cross, the international blood association AABB and America's Blood Centers proposed replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. New and improved tests, which can detect HIV-positive donors within just 10 to 21 days of infection, make the lifetime ban unnecessary, the blood groups told the FDA.

    "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.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070523/.../blood_gay_men

  2. #2
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    The deferral for men who have had sex with men is based on the following considerations regarding risk of HIV:
    • <LI class=vertSpace>Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence (the total number of cases of a disease that are present in a population at a specific point in time) 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors (American Red Cross). Even taking into account that 75&#37; of HIV infected men who have sex with men already know they are HIV positive and would be unlikely to donate blood, the HIV prevalence in potential donors with history of male sex with males is 200 times higher than first time blood donors and 2000 times higher than repeat blood donors. <LI class=vertSpace>Men who have had sex with men account for the largest single group of blood donors who are found HIV positive by blood donor testing. <LI class=vertSpace>Blood donor testing using current advanced technologies has greatly reduced the risk of HIV transmission but cannot yet detect all infected donors or prevent all transmission by transfusions. 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. <LI class=vertSpace>Detection of HIV infection is particularly challenging when very low levels of virus are present in the blood for example during the so-called "window period". The "window period" is the time between being infected with HIV and the ability of an HIV test to detect HIV in an infected person. <LI class=vertSpace>FDA's MSM policy reduces the likelihood that a person would unknowingly donate blood during the "window period" of infection. This is important because the rate of new infections in MSM is higher than in the general population and current blood donors. <LI class=vertSpace>Collection of blood from persons with an increased risk of HIV infection also presents an added risk if blood were to be accidentally given to a patient in error either before testing is completed or following a positive test. Such medical errors occur very rarely, but given that there are over 20 million transfusions every year, in the USA, they can occur. That is one more reason why FDA and other regulatory authorities work to assure that there are multiple safeguards, not just testing. <LI class=vertSpace>Several scientific models show there would be a small but definite increased risk to people who receive blood transfusions if FDA's MSM policy were changed and that preventable transfusion transmission of HIV could occur as a result. <LI class=vertSpace>No alternate set of donor eligibility criteria (even including practice of safe sex or a low number of lifetime partners) has yet been found to reliably identify MSM who are not at increased risk for HIV or certain other transfusion transmissible infections. <LI class=vertSpace>Today, the risk of getting HIV from a transfusion or a blood product has been nearly eliminated in the United States. Improved procedures, donor screening for risk of infection and laboratory testing for evidence of HIV infection have made the United States blood supply safer than ever. While appreciative and supportive of the desire of potential blood donors to contribute to the health of others, FDA's first obligation is to assure the safety of the blood supply and protect the health of blood recipients.
    • Men who have sex with men also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion. For example, infection with the Hepatitis B virus is about 5-6 times more common and Hepatitis C virus infections are about 2 times more common in men who have sex with other men than in the general population. Additionally, men who have sex with men have an increased incidence and prevalence of Human Herpes Virus-8 (HHV-8). HHV-8 causes a cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma in immunocompromised individuals.
    from the faq link at the bottom of the report.

  3. #3
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    You know, I'm not the brightest crayon in the box but how does this deterr blood donations from being tainted with HIV? Number one, you can always lie about your sexuality. Number two, straight men/women can be exposed to HIV also. Should they ban men that have been involved with prostitutes? men that have been involved with women who are involved with gay or bisexual men? women whose husbands have been getting a little on the side...the list could go on and on.
    Just test the blood!!

  4. #4
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    As long as they are testing the blood for HIV/AIDS what does it matter who donates? Saying all gays have HIV is like saying all blacks will steal your car. it is absurd considering the blood shortages some areas have in the blood banks. Plenty of straights have AIDS too. How about taking all blood and screeeing the heck out of it.

  5. #5
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    AIDS stats...
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/survei...sic.htm#ddaids
    There are statistics based on race, transmission, etc.

  6. #6
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    This is down right ignorant. As said before, just because your gay doesn't mean you have to admit it. I highly doubt those who have "high risk" sex walk in and say "hi, I like to have unprotected one night stands and I'd like to donate some blood".
    You won't cry for my absence, I know -
    You forgot me long ago. Am I that unimportant...?
    Am I so insignificant...? Isn't something missing?
    Isn't someone missing me?
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    Please take a moment to see Deanna's Age progression here:
    http://www.missingkids.com/missingki...archLang=en_US
    Deanna Merryfield-missing from Killeen,Tx since July 1990
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=106164

  7. #7
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    I've had many blood transfusions during my life and I would hate to think that if someone who is gay is willing and wants to donate blood and they aren't HIV positive that they will be turned away.

    It's disciminatory and it's stupid.

  8. #8
    iNTERESTEDWOMAN's Avatar
    iNTERESTEDWOMAN is offline I'll trade you a bushel of corn for a barrel of oil.
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    Last I heard, (On Oprah several months ago) the fastest growing group of HIV+ patients are Heterosexual African-American Women ages 18-30. The next group was Heterosexual teens/young adults ages 15-25.

    I would be more worried about blood received at a school/college blood drive than in the gay men population, (who have seemed to figure out how to slow down the spread of HIV amongst themselves.)

  9. #9
    IrishMist's Avatar
    IrishMist is offline You can't control the wind - but you can adjust your sails
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzybeth View Post
    It's disciminatory and it's stupid.
    Pretty well sums up my thoughts on this.

  10. #10
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    Bigger risk

    Well if I am not mistaken, I think there is a possibility of turning gay if one is transfused with gay blood.
    Last edited by JBean; 05-24-2007 at 06:03 PM.


  11. #11
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    LOL. Hmmm, well then, I might be gay, black, American Indian, Asian, etc. When I had leukemia I had so many blood transfusions who knows what's running through my veins right now.


  12. #12
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    Seriously, there are people who are so ignorant that they will not accept blood from another race. As long as it is clean, if I need it I want it.
    I have never had a need for blood but my FIL recently needed blood and they were short his type at the hospital.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzybeth View Post
    You know, I'm not the brightest crayon in the box but how does this deterr blood donations from being tainted with HIV? Number one, you can always lie about your sexuality. Number two, straight men/women can be exposed to HIV also. Should they ban men that have been involved with prostitutes? men that have been involved with women who are involved with gay or bisexual men? women whose husbands have been getting a little on the side...the list could go on and on.
    Just test the blood!!
    Um, yes. Have you ever donated blood? All of those questions (and many more) are asked, and if you answer yes to any of them your blood is not accepted. It is frustrating for the person who wants to donate and very frustrating for the community who collects the blood and frustrating for the medical community and frustrating and dangerous for the people who need blood, but they are doing the best they can to make sure the supply is safe.

    I can no longer give blood b/c I have spent a cumulative 4 months in the last 20 years in the UK. Because of Mad Cow disease. There is no test for Mad Cow disease. There is no indication that I have Mad Cow disease.* There is no research I know of to show that humans can carry Mad Cow disease for years and years with no symptoms and then pass it along in their blood. BUT, as far as they know, the safest thing to prevent the transmission of it in the US is not to let me (or lots of other people, including tons of our service men and women, who are some of our most loyal and vigilant donors) give blood.

    Does it seem stupid? I guess. But do I want to be horribly ill with a suppressed immune system and need blood, only to find out later that it was tainted b/c they didn't want to offend someone? NO!

    If a man is homosexual but hasn't had sex with another man, then this is irrelevant. If he has, then it matters. Just like being with a prostitute, being an IV drug user, spending time in certain foreign countries, having certain medical conditions, or being of a certain age all preclude one from donating. This isn't about orientation. It is about statistics. It's about safety.

    *my DH might debate this, but it is irrelevant to the discussion

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherri79 View Post
    The deferral for men who have had sex with men is based on the following considerations regarding risk of HIV:
    • <LI class=vertSpace>Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence (the total number of cases of a disease that are present in a population at a specific point in time) 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors (American Red Cross). Even taking into account that 75% of HIV infected men who have sex with men already know they are HIV positive and would be unlikely to donate blood, the HIV prevalence in potential donors with history of male sex with males is 200 times higher than first time blood donors and 2000 times higher than repeat blood donors. <LI class=vertSpace>Men who have had sex with men account for the largest single group of blood donors who are found HIV positive by blood donor testing. <LI class=vertSpace>Blood donor testing using current advanced technologies has greatly reduced the risk of HIV transmission but cannot yet detect all infected donors or prevent all transmission by transfusions. 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. <LI class=vertSpace>Detection of HIV infection is particularly challenging when very low levels of virus are present in the blood for example during the so-called "window period". The "window period" is the time between being infected with HIV and the ability of an HIV test to detect HIV in an infected person. <LI class=vertSpace>FDA's MSM policy reduces the likelihood that a person would unknowingly donate blood during the "window period" of infection. This is important because the rate of new infections in MSM is higher than in the general population and current blood donors. <LI class=vertSpace>Collection of blood from persons with an increased risk of HIV infection also presents an added risk if blood were to be accidentally given to a patient in error either before testing is completed or following a positive test. Such medical errors occur very rarely, but given that there are over 20 million transfusions every year, in the USA, they can occur. That is one more reason why FDA and other regulatory authorities work to assure that there are multiple safeguards, not just testing. <LI class=vertSpace>Several scientific models show there would be a small but definite increased risk to people who receive blood transfusions if FDA's MSM policy were changed and that preventable transfusion transmission of HIV could occur as a result. <LI class=vertSpace>No alternate set of donor eligibility criteria (even including practice of safe sex or a low number of lifetime partners) has yet been found to reliably identify MSM who are not at increased risk for HIV or certain other transfusion transmissible infections. <LI class=vertSpace>Today, the risk of getting HIV from a transfusion or a blood product has been nearly eliminated in the United States. Improved procedures, donor screening for risk of infection and laboratory testing for evidence of HIV infection have made the United States blood supply safer than ever. While appreciative and supportive of the desire of potential blood donors to contribute to the health of others, FDA's first obligation is to assure the safety of the blood supply and protect the health of blood recipients.
    • Men who have sex with men also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion. For example, infection with the Hepatitis B virus is about 5-6 times more common and Hepatitis C virus infections are about 2 times more common in men who have sex with other men than in the general population. Additionally, men who have sex with men have an increased incidence and prevalence of Human Herpes Virus-8 (HHV-8). HHV-8 causes a cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma in immunocompromised individuals..
    • --Those are pretty stunning statistics

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    Well if I am not mistaken, I think there is a possibility of turning gay if I one is transfused with gay blood.
    --lol--that's funny

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