Re: The CDC is wrong....would you want my blood?
by LadyMac - Posted Mon August 28, 2006 @ 8:00 AM
You learn something new every day. Well, at least on Saturday, I did.
I went in for my blood donation. No problems, whatsoever, except for the fact I have "deep veins". Deep lady, deep veins? Ha ha. My arm is going to be black and blue for a while.
Prior to donation, I learned that in 2003 the Red Cross implemented a new test to detect for HIV and Hep C. It's called Nucleic Acid Testing, or simply NAT. I did some research over the weekend and it turns out that this test detects viral genes, rather than viral antibodies or antigens. This means they are able to detect infection earlier since the donor does not have to develop an immune response (which produces antigens or antibodies) to either virus.
According to the FDA, the average window to detect antigens and antibodies for HIV and HIV-1 is 22 days, however with NAT, it's reduced to 12 days. The window for detection of Hep C is reduced from 82 days to 25 days.
So I asked the donor coordinator who was there some questions along the lines of djay's original post. According to her, with this new testing, the American Red Cross has requested the CDC change some of its questions to donors. She agreed with me that the current set of questions has the unintended benefit of scaring off a number of donors.
While I still understand why the CDC has promulgated the regulations it has, with the advent of these newer tests, I am also seeing that their policies and protocols are lagging behind the available technology. If, indeed, a viral gene for HIV can be detected in 12 days, then maybe djay is right: maybe a lifelong ban on homosexuals donating is not necessary....
Just some more things for me to think about!