Gay Men Can’t Donate Blood!?
While surfing online I found something that I at first didn't think was real, and after research found myself surprised and disgusted: neither gay nor bisexual men can donate blood. Actually, these men are classified as highest-risk blood-donors, placed under the same label as IV drug users and prostitutes, banned in countries like The United States of America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway.
Do you want to know why? Simple, Human immunodeficiency virus / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as HIV/AIDS.
If you know nothing about the history of HIV/AIDS then let me tell you a few things: back when the first cases of AIDS were reported they were mostly found in cases of homosexual men, having been even famous people who contracted AIDS, just like Queen’s lead singer Freddy Mercury, and known ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Men who engaged in sexual relationships with other men seemed to contract this virus more frequently than men who didn’t and it made sense. Back then with no common knowledge of STDs, condoms were primarily used to avoid pregnancies, so many gay and bisexual men found no reason to wear one.
Now back to the main issue: in 1983 when science had no way to detect the virus and it was getting out of hand, the Food and Drugs Administration decided to ban men who had ever engaged in a homosexual relationship at any point of their lives from donating blood.
Back then this ban made sense. They banned the most prominent type from donating, yet 2 years after the ban began scientists found a way to detect the present of the virus in blood by detecting antibodies, a process that could take around 45 days for the antibodies to present themselves, which was still a pretty long process, but now as science has grown, the virus can be found within 7 to 10 days. All blood donated is screen tested for a series of diseases, viruses, and infections.
Now, if science has evolved so much, why can’t these men donate blood? I am unable to find a reason that is not discriminating.
Some countries now only limit the ban to a one year free of homosexual activities to be able to donate blood. Some countries have even taken down the ban and I applaud them for that because, when blood banks and many of this healthy men, want to contribute to the lives of others, and whose blood has the same possibilities of having any sort of disease, why does the FDA has to have something that only limits the amount of lives saved?
After civil protests, and even state senators complaining about the discrimination and lack of ethic the rethinking of this ban has always been ignored or put on hold. Banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood is nothing but discrimination towards these men just because of their sexual preferences and no longer for health and safety reasons.