Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gay men can't donate blood? What the...???


Are you ready for a rant? Well, you're going to get one.

I just found out that Canadian Blood Services does not allow gay men to donate blood. You can read their reasons for it here. They say that
"The basic premise for our policy pertaining to men who have had sex with men is that the prevalence and incidence of HIV is much higher in males who have had sex with other males than it is in individuals having exclusively heterosexual sex."
Sure, that's true, but cleanliness should be the issue more that sexual orientation. I can certainly understand that they are trying to keep people safe and stop HIV from spreading through blood, but seriously? Ban all gays from donating blood? Even the huge majority that is HIV free? And do they realize that 60% of all HIV+ people got it from exclusively heterosexual incidents? Perhaps CBS should have some kind of screening process for everyone to make sure that nobody has HIV, straight or otherwise. Sure, they might lose some donors, but they'd gain a lot of people from the GBLT community.


Anonymous said...

Today, August 5, my workplace had organized a group blood donation at our local Fredericton New Brunswick blood drive. My company pays for its employee's to take time out of their day to donate. As a new employee I thought I would go to and support my employer.

Standing in line with my co-workers I went through the blood donation process. When I got to interview with the nurse, the last step before donating blood, I was asked the question "Since 1977 have you ever had sex with a man..." I was born in 1982 and as a gay man in a committed relationship, I answered truthfully. This question was included with others that asked if I had ever sold myself for money or used cocaine.

The nurse told me point blank that Canadian Blood Services doesn't accept donations from gay men.

So I had to walk out of the interview booth, past all my coworkers sitting in their chairs. Each was looking up at me as I had to walk by with a questioning look in their eye.

It was the worse feeling I have ever had in my entire life. I knew discrimination towards gay people existed but until now I had never experienced it. I was so angry I went to the mall next door to sit alone... instead of wait until everyone else finished their donation to get a ride back to work.

Everyone else.

But me.

I can't believe my blood is considered more at risk then that of my co-workers. I have been in an exclusive domestic partnership for four years... some of my co-workers commit more risky sexual acts over one weekend then I have in my whole life. If I swim with my co-workers are they more at risk to catch something in the pool? What about the water fountain at work?

I felt as if I had been declared by a priest in the Old Testament as "unclean."

I would never, ever, ever, wish this feeling on anyone else.

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