1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The gay rights community is wrong about blood donations (again)

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Mr Spinkles, May 23, 2010.

  1. Mr Spinkles

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,683
    Ratings:
    +3,065
    Let's make one thing clear from the start: Blood donors have no rights. The only people who have rights are the people receiving a blood donation. They have the right to receive blood which has as small a risk of infectious disease as possible. Period.

    Men who have had sex with other men (MSM) since 1977 are banned for life from donating blood in the U.S. by the FDA. The FDA explains the reasons for this policy (edit: fixed link) here: http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/bloodbloodproducts/questionsaboutblood/ucm108186.htm . The primary reason is blood safety. MSM are 800 times more likely than the general population of first-time blood donors to have HIV.

    What the FDA chooses not to talk about, perhaps because it is too painful and embarrassing to talk about, is the epidemic of HIV and Hepatitis that occurred in the bleeding disorders community from 1977 to about 1986. This epidemic eventually killed most people with a severe bleeding disorder in the U.S. at that time, perhaps around 15,000 people. I am 24 years old and I have severe hemophilia, I narrowly escaped the Hep C epidemic and there don't seem to be many hemophiliacs alive older than me. As many of you know, I am also a strong supporter of the LGBT community and gay rights.

    The sad thing about this is it was well known early on that HIV was correlated with MSM. They should have banned MSM right away as a precautionary measure, but they didn't. Gay rights groups put pressure on the medical community to not institute what they felt was a discriminatory ban. Those were critical years of hesitation which cost many lives.

    Now, sadly and tragically in my opinion, the gay rights community is making the same mistake all over again. Gay rights groups and some U.S. senators (including Senator Kerry) have put pressure on the FDA to change the policy. Some gay rights activists are inappropriately politicizing a medical issue.
     
    #1 Mr Spinkles, May 23, 2010
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  2. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Messages:
    9,992
    Ratings:
    +505
    I think once put out as you have done so, it makes a lot of sense. I am a person who has received multiple transfusions in the past because of medical problems, and I am for the actions that will insure my safety.
     
  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    76,120
    Ratings:
    +37,778
    Religion:
    Non-Theistic Mysticism
    Let's hope sanity -- rather than ideology -- prevails.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Messages:
    13,381
    Ratings:
    +1,388
    So, the argument then is that proper screening of blood donors - read gay men - creates more safe blood for patients that need it. In this argument, gay people don't feel discriminated against, and there is more safe blood.

    I take on board what you are saying, there have been tragic cases in the past where proper precautions have not been put in place, but I think in this day and age we should be looking at more inclusive precautions than exclusive precautions.
     
  5. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    19,892
    Ratings:
    +3,251
    The actual rate of HIV infection among gay men is very high -- about 44 times the rate of HIV infection among the general population of the United States -- but I think it's disingenuous to imply that gay men with HIV would donate blood at a rate 800 times the rate of the general population.

    Also, I'm curious: In view of the fact that African-Americans are far more likely to have HIV than Caucasians, do you favor a ban on blood donation by African-Americans?

    For the record, if won't bother me if they never lift the ban. My sense of alienation from American society is very nearly complete, and I wouldn't donate blood even if the ban were lifted, although I don't have HIV and have never had any other sexually-transmitted disease.
     
  6. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Messages:
    11,581
    Ratings:
    +1,340
    Religion:
    Christian
    Now, I could be presumptuous here, but I am pretty sure that is not what he said...

    He said the rate of HIV infection is 800 times higher among male homosexuals than general population first time donors...

    So, and I am making up numbers here, if the general first time blood donor rate of HIV infection was .02% then the male homosexual blood donor rate of HIV infection would be 16%, 800 times higher...
     
  7. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    19,892
    Ratings:
    +3,251
    No. There is no (known) rate of HIV status for gay first-time donors, since gay first-time donors do not legally exist.

    The figure given compares the rate of infection among gay men generally to the rate of infection among first-time donors, and not to the rate of infection among the general population. This is a relevant figure if one assumes that 100% of gay men will choose to donate blood regardless of HIV status; otherwise, it's a bad example of overkill.
     
  8. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,210
    Ratings:
    +867
    Religion:
    UU/Atheist
    What gets me about the ban is one automatically must assume gay men are likely to have HIV. I don't have HIV or any other STD. I am very careful about who I go with, and am not promiscious.
     
  9. enchanted_one1975

    enchanted_one1975 Resident Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    9,700
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    Wouldn't it be easier to test the blood for diseases and wait before distributing it? They freeze donations anyway so they have time to wait for test results to come back. I am pretty sure they do test it anyway, but why remove certain types of people if you do? I can't see them grabbing anyone's fresh donation and running right to the hospital with it. If you ask them during a case of civil emergency such as a hurricane), they will tell you that they are using previous donations at that time and the local donations will be used to restock the supply for the next disaster. So...why not test and trust the science that they love so much to make the decision instead of letting fear decide? As stated elsewhere in the forums, many of us will lie anyway and get our MSM blood into the nation's supply anyway.
     
  10. Gunfingers

    Gunfingers Happiness Incarnate

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +135
    Statistically speaking, gay men are more likely to have HIV. And statistics are all they care about. MSM is simply still to heavily associated with HIV to allow blood donation.
     
  11. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,210
    Ratings:
    +867
    Religion:
    UU/Atheist
    EO it's just another way of trying to deny gay people of something everyone else can do. No one will admit it, but it's trying to alienate us from the rest of society, no matter how much one tries to dress it up with pretty words and justify it.
     
  12. Gunfingers

    Gunfingers Happiness Incarnate

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +135
    Yeah, thousands of hemophiliacs got AIDS and died because they hate gay people...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. enchanted_one1975

    enchanted_one1975 Resident Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    9,700
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    Can you show us a source that shows where the tainted blood was traced to gay donors rather than heterosexual donors that has been previously infected with the virus?
     
  14. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    19,892
    Ratings:
    +3,251
    It makes sense to exclude groups of people who are statistically more likely to have HIV if the blood supply can't be reliably tested. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem with the way the argument is presented, though: the implication that thousands of hemophiliacs died because of the reckless selfishness of gay activists and thousands more are doomed to die if gay activists selfishly insist that the ban be lifted.

    There were gay activists who argued against the ban, feeling that it would further stigmatize gay men. However, it's ridiculous to claim that the ban was delayed because of the clout of gay groups. Outside of New York and San Francisco, gay groups didn't even have any clout back then. (To judge from the progress we've made with a "fierce advocate" in the White House, we don't have any now, either.) It was a combination of factors, the most important of which were the fears of the blood banks and plasma centers that a ban would result in blood shortages. There was also resistance to testing blood donations because it was not felt to be cost-effective.

    The main factor in the widespread infection of hemophiliacs was the profit motive. Manufacturers often failed to follow US law in the manufacture of clotting factors. Manufacturers falsely assured consumers that their unpasteurized clotting factors were safe even when that was known not to be true. They didn't just sell out their existing stock of products; they continued to manufacture more. And the FDA cooperated with the manufacturers to keep accurate information from falling into the hands of people who needed it. Manufacturers and regulatory agencies in other countries also placed corporate profits ahead of the health of hemophiliacs, with tragic results. To blame the tragedy on gay groups is blatantly dishonest.

    Safer products have been available for hemophiliacs for many years, and whatever health issues might be raised by allowing higher-risk groups to donate blood don't really pertain to hemophilia so much as to whole-blood transfusions.

    It's true that it was and still is easier and more acceptable politically to marginalize gay men than most other groups. It is true that a similar ban African-American blood donors would never happen because it would not be politically expedient. However, it is also true that gay men are statistically much more likely than African-Americans to have HIV. This is just not a battle worth fighting. We're marginalized and stigmatized in our society in a thousand ways, and the blood donor ban is probably the very least objectionable of them. Lifting the ban will not improve the position of gay men in America. If anything, it will cause us more trouble because of the inevitable alarmist backlash.

    It's not the ban I object to so much as the accompanying dishonest narrative that gay equality kills, and gay men are willing to kill to score "equality" points. If the ban is lifted, that's all you're going to hear.

    My advice is to keep your blood in your own body and spend your energy fighting for equality on fronts that really matter. If Congressmen and Senators are interested furthering gay equality, they should concentrate on repealing DOMA, repealing DADT, passing ENDA, and passing UAFA. That they waste their time by yammering about ******** like the blood ban instead is ridiculous and insulting. What we need is real progress, not this kind of token pat on the head. Refuse to be distracted.
     
    #14 Smoke, May 23, 2010
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Darkness

    Darkness Psychoanalyst/Marxist

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,806
    Ratings:
    +409
    I think it is ludicrous that the blood is not tested for diseases, whether the donor is straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual.
     
  16. Gunfingers

    Gunfingers Happiness Incarnate

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +135
    It is, but the testing is expensive and imperfect.
     
  17. enchanted_one1975

    enchanted_one1975 Resident Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    9,700
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    What is a human life worth? If they didn't discriminate then they could get more people to donate, which would potentially lower the cost of a pint of blood to the end recipient. (Just because you donated it does not mean the one in need gets it for free.) If the cost of the actual blood was lowered then that would mean more money would be available for more accurate testing.
     
  18. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    181,065
    Ratings:
    +60,346
    Religion:
    Atheist
    If it is so ludicrous, then why would they do it this way?
    Do you imagine they have an anti-gay agenda, or that they lack your expertise in blood collection?
     
  19. enchanted_one1975

    enchanted_one1975 Resident Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    9,700
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    Easy for you to say. How would you feel if they started refusing blood from groundskeepers?
     
  20. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    181,065
    Ratings:
    +60,346
    Religion:
    Atheist
    I only asked questions......yeah, that is easy. But if we groundskeepers were prone to some blood borne infection which posed
    excessive risk to others, then I'd have no qualms about our exclusion. My self esteem is not tied to others' desire for my blood.
    I know many people who cannot give blood (for many reasons). It doesn't bother them either. Perhaps some people should
    not strive so hard to see themselves as victims.

    Btw, I don't know enuf about blood mongering to take a position on whom to exclude. Too many people seem ready to take a
    stand without understanding the issue.
     
    #20 Revoltingest, May 23, 2010
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...