Re: The CDC is wrong....would you want my blood?
by Brightie - Posted Thu August 17, 2006 @ 9:30 PM
David, I understand how incredibly frustating it must be to want to give blood, and be unable to. I think, in this case, you have to assume the CDC has reasons for this guideline - and they do. What you should be aware of, however, is that this is not an "anti-gay society" thing.
I have a friend in New Zealand who's family once visited England, sometime around when she was three or four years old. She is now 25. She is not allowed to donate blood, because around the time she went to England there was some kind of disease outbreak - mad cow, something, I don't know. The point is, the Red Cross officials in NZ aren't all Anglophobes. They don't hate the English, and aren't disallowing her from donating because she might have caught "English" disease...they disallow her from donating because there is a chance, however slim, that she could be a carrier of this disease, and might pass it on to others.
Another point - as you are probably aware, many blood donations are used to treat people with hematological disorders, who need the transfusions to make up for their own blood loss or lack of healthy blood. What you may not be aware of is that when the process of giving these patients blood transfusions to help them first began, the blood products were not screened and tested as they are today. Many, many people died of AIDS and other illnesses, and doctors who were trying to save lives must now stand back and watch their patients die. Those doctors feel fully the weight of their ignorance, and knowing what they know now, would not take the SLIGHTEST risk with any patient, for any reason. The recipients of these blood products are often immune deficient already, and especially prone to catching anything.
Finally, having given blood several times in the past two years, I have myself filled out the same forms you have. And I can assure you that homosexual male sex is not the only risk factor that they are screening for. They screen for risky sex practices between heterosexual couples, they screen for travel, they screen for exposure such as tattoos and being a nurse. Surely, some of the people they decide to not allow to donate blood do not actually have any communicable disease. But when you consider the amount of blood that must flow through the Red Cross (a non-profit organization) at any given moment, and the amount of money that is wasted if they take blood from an infected citizen that they then must destroy because it was not usable, it seems logical that they would avoid loosing that precious resource - time - and valuable tools such as needles and blood bags and etc at any cost. They're watching their budget, trying to put every penny into saving lives. They can't afford to take risks.
As for the rights of the GLBT community, well...I think you will not find anyone more openly and even vigorously supportive of gay rights than I am. But that's simply not the issue at hand.
This isn't about you. It's about sick people getting better. I hope that when you think about it, you will understand that. And I hope that you will consider the many other ways you could help sick people, such as donating time or even money.