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  #1    
Old May 22nd, 2013, 09:35 AM
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TORONTO -- Canada is lifting a nearly 30-year-old ban on gay men giving blood, though for the time being only those who are abstinent will be allowed to donate.

The new policy, which Canadian Blood Services hopes to have in place by mid-summer, will allow men to donate blood if they haven't had sex with another man for five years before the donation.
The agency understands that the length of this deferral won't satisfy all critics. But agency executive Dana Devine said this is the first step in what Canadian Blood Services hopes will be a continued effort to work out what is the best approach to incorporating gay men into the donation community.

"So the message to them today is to simply bear with us," Devine, vice-president of medical, scientific and research affairs at Canadian Blood Services, said in an interview.

"We are working toward attempting to make the opportunity for additional people to donate blood ... and we just aren't quite there yet for that group of people."
About time, jeez. My friend actually wanted to donate blood last year but was told he wasn't allowed because he is homosexual! He was so embarassed and angered because he genuinely wanted to help people - who could have survived with his blood (he has a rarer type) - and they told him flat-out "no"!

Hoping this gets "fixed" fast so that there won't be any terms on homosexuals donating blood. The abstinence thing is just silly. You wouldn't ask a married woman or man to be abstinent for five years before donating blood. Why instill limits on a group of people where is has been shown in recent years that AIDS and homosexuals are not like pb&j where they go together naturally. Heterosexuals contract and spread it just as much. Phooey.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Ugh, I'm so over this backwards mindset that homosexual males are the only people at risk to contract HIV/AIDS.
Five years? How do they even plan on being able to PROVE that?
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Plus, what about all that so-called high-end technology that makes the chance of contracting HIV through a blood transfusion like, 0.0001%? Is that suddenly moot because OH NO THIS BE GAY BLOOD?

Absolutely ridiculous. Can't believe it took the Red Cross this long to consider blood donations from homosexual men (noting, they very much specify men and not homosexual women... but betting both are discriminated against for the same reason.)

Think about how many lives they could've saved accepting a donation from homosexual who has a rare type of blood. Is that not a priority for them? Seems they're playing an awful lot with chance and human life by not accepting donations from homosexuals (if it's clean, of course, but thats not specific to them; again, heterosexuals can have "dirty" a.k.a. HIV or other disease-contaminated blood.)

Just so silly. They need to move faster.

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Old May 22nd, 2013, 01:05 PM
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I think the Red Cross knows that blood from gay men isn't the issue. I think they're just worried about the public perception. Years ago it probably would have been difficult for them to get certain types of people to trust them if they let gay men donate blood, and if they're not trusted that makes their overall job much harder. It's only around now that they probably feel safe allowing gay men to donate, harsh as their restrictions are.

Of course you don't have to tell them you're gay or sexually active. They'll screen blood regardless, I believe, because anybody could have something in their blood that they don't know about.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 04:25 PM
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Why can't everyone (gay, straight, whatever) just be tested before they can donate.

I don't understand the abstinence bit as a requirement. Monogamy would make sense. If you're with one clean partner, you're in the clear. If you're sleeping around, meh.... not so much.

But still, how would you ensure either criterion? The honour system?
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 06:12 PM
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This makes me sick. The idea that only gay men contract STDs is old and obviously untrue. Besides, they have to test your blood when it's donated.

And how on Earth are they going to determine whether you've had sexual relationships with another man within the past 5 years? Are they going to force you on a lie-detecter test? "You can give us your blood out of the goodness of your heart, but first we're going to treat you like a piece of trash and shame you for your sexuality and our irrational bias on it." Yeah right. Not to mention most companies that ge tblood donated to them just sell it to hospitals.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 06:22 PM
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Yeah right. Not to mention most companies that ge tblood donated to them just sell it to hospitals.
When we had to ask if people wanted to donate to the Red Cross (at Walmart; part of the job), I heard a lot of things like this, as well as the claim that only 10% actually goes to the cause; the rest is administration and greed.

IMO Red Cross should adopt the same legalities as job resumes. You can't ask for age or sexual orientation. It doesn't matter. The person wants to donate, so let'em. Check for diseases and if it passes, save a life.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 12:46 AM
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Yeah, as a sexually active gay man in a monogamous relationship (and no plans to change that sexually active bit any time soon) this still means that even though I've been repeatedly tested negative for HIV/AIDS I'm still unable to donate blood. Yes, I could lie, but I wouldn't. Because that's not right.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TRIFORCE89 View Post
Why can't everyone (gay, straight, whatever) just be tested before they can donate.
This is what I've always figured. It's absolutely horrid the "gay men can't donate blood" rule and it's stopped me donating blood myself, but at least something is being done to finally stop it. It's an utterly horrific rule to have in place and no amount of social stigma behind homosexuality should ever prevent someone from having their life saved, but even if they do for some reason care about sexuality whilst donating blood, why not just take it anyway and then ask the patient using the blood if they're okay with accepting 'homosexual blood'? They'll find that 99.9999% of people have the common sense to not give one shred of a care about it, and then they'll have a firm basis for refuting that abomination of a law altogether.

But hey, we're in the run for getting gay marriage legalised and now this has come up too - perhaps the future is brighter than we thought! (Even though it should never have been dark in the first place...)
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Old May 24th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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The one at least vaguely reasonable explanation I've seen for the unwillingess to take homosexual blood was one of costs - it's not cost efficient to repeatedly screen blood that is likely to be unusable. However, that financial reasoning is obviously hideously outdated and was based on a fallacy in the first place. This supposed compromise makes of course absolutely no difference to anyone barring the 40 year old gay virgin but as a token gesture it's passable, as long as it leads to actual useful changes in the law later on.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 03:15 AM
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...meanwhile in England,

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Your blood will be taken to one of our blood centres up and down the country. To protect patients, your blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, certain other infectious diseases and syphilis.
all blood is tested after collection and yet we still don't allow sexually active homosexuals to give blood. Although in fairness, it's not a straight-up 'no' to gay people, we just don't allow them to give blood for 12 months after sex. Interestingly, among the list of people who can't give blood for 12 months after sex with certain people is

Quote:
Anyone of any race who has been sexually active in parts of the world where AIDS/HIV is very common.
it's almost as if they're saying "yeah even though we test for HIV you still obviously have it because you have sex with other men / people who obviously have HIV so just don't bother" which seems... really totally out-of-line to me. What's also odd is this 12-month rule given that HIV a) can be unidentified past 12 months and b) certainly does not go away after 12 months. So I have no idea what they're getting at here. It's almost like they're discriminating against homosexuals just because they can, given that waiting 12 months doesn't change the risk of anything and they screen blood after donation anyway.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TRIFORCE89 View Post
Why can't everyone (gay, straight, whatever) just be tested before they can donate.

I don't understand the abstinence bit as a requirement. Monogamy would make sense. If you're with one clean partner, you're in the clear. If you're sleeping around, meh.... not so much.

But still, how would you ensure either criterion? The honour system?
I agree in essence with this. If you're only hanging around with the same individual per night, you ought to be considered clean or above suspicion.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 04:54 PM
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Hah. Except those of us who are gay are regularly regarded by the health care industry as a bunch of disease carrying, promiscuous men ready to jump the bones of the next guy to cross our paths without second thoughts to our well being. We're considered worse than prostitutes, who don't even have anywhere near as long a deferral period as we who are gay have. All because of the prejudices people hold on gays. There's a lot of doctors even who won't even consider taking on a gay patient. Not because of anti-gay bias, but rather because they have been inadequately trained to handle gay specific health concerns.

So if you know a gay guy who has only been with one partner is his life, know that he is more dangerous in the eyes of the medical community than a street corner prostitute. That's what's got to change.
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Old June 1st, 2013, 03:53 PM
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At least Red Cross tried.

A 5 year waiting period is pretty pointless, though. No one even plans that far back to give blood afaik, so I doubt they'd wait to do it just to donate blood.

Quote:
Your blood will be taken to one of our blood centres up and down the country. To protect patients, your blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, certain other infectious diseases and syphilis.
If they just did this instead, there'd literally be no issue and people wouldn't dive back into the ever-prospering "gay guys are the only people with HIV/AIDS" stereotype.
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Old June 1st, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRIFORCE89 View Post
Why can't everyone (gay, straight, whatever) just be tested before they can donate.

I don't understand the abstinence bit as a requirement. Monogamy would make sense. If you're with one clean partner, you're in the clear. If you're sleeping around, meh.... not so much.

But still, how would you ensure either criterion? The honour system?
To be honest I've wondered the same thing.
Also it's hard to believe that gay males can't donate after all these years, I thought the connection between HIV/AIDS and Gay man was disproven back in the 1980's apparently in the eyes of the Red Cross it was not.
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