My blood is ‘gay’, is that ok?

Apparently not, in the UK or US. On June 10-11 the Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability will reconsider the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) 1983 ban on accepting ‘gay' blood or the blood from any man who has had sex with a man (MSM) since 1977.

World Blood Donor Day takes place on June 14 and this year's campaign is "New blood for the world" with targeted efforts to get youth worldwide to donate blood not just on June 14 but more regularly without rewards. To be a blood donor, there is a long list of factors that first have to be considered that could make you ineligible for varying periods of time, that can range from traveling/living outside of the US, medications, MSM, cocaine-use, piercings, tattoos, even electrolysis.

The current ban on ‘gay' blood is centered on men's sexual orientation rather than lifestyle. On March 9, 18 US senators including former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry urged the FDA to address their "outdated" policy according to the news network CNN on May 26. Kerry wrote, "a heterosexual who has had sex with a prostitute need only wait a year [before giving blood]. That does not strike me as a sound scientific conclusion" given that "gay men, including those who are in monogamous relationships, are forbidden from contributing blood for the rest of their lives."

However the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to show MSM as the highest risk group in HIV transmission and claim that gay men are 15 times more likely to have HIV than the rest of the population.

And, Jay Brooks, MD, professor of pathology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, explained this is about science not about gay rights, adding it has "nothing to do with someone being gay. Any group that's epidemiologically at risk of making blood unsafe, it's unfortunate. ... It's a matter of epidemiology."

Brooks continued, "The interest of the recipient is greater than any donor" and "I'd hate to tell the one person who got HIV through a blood transfusion, 'Sorry, we changed the regulation.' "

Technologies and practices in blood screenings have come a long way since the hemophilia blood contamination catastrophe of the late 1970s and early 1980s where companies were soliciting blood from high-risk individuals including prisoners and junkies.

Various organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Red Cross, agree that safety is paramount and each and every donor needs to be screened equally irrespective of the sex of their partner. They also agree with Kerry that gay men, who have been cleared the same way heterosexual men are, should be allowed to donate blood and not be banned for life.

For more information on blood donor requirements contact your local Red Cross office or blood bank; here is a list of the constantly changing US requirements: http://www.bloodbook.com/donr-requir.html

To learn more about donating blood and World Blood Donor Day go to: http://www.who.int/worldblooddonorday/en  http://www.fullblooded.org/blood-donor-world-day

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

    £18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power