You are on page 1of 4

Is the wait period for gay men giving

blood necessary?
Yes:
-MSM (men who have sex with men) statistically have higher rates of HIV. This started
during the aids epidemic during the 60s and 70s and has continued to today.

Gay and bisexual men accounted for 82% (26,375) of HIV diagnoses among
males and 67% of all diagnoses. Black/African American gay and bisexual men
accounted for the largest number of HIV diagnoses (10,315), followed by white
gay and bisexual men (7,570). -(US Statistics, 2017, Web).

-Every drop of blood is tested but the test isnt always 100% accurate. It is better to start
with blood that is less at risk just in case the test doesnt catch any abnormalities.

The Red Cross tests each unit of donated blood for a number of infectious
diseases. While testing has greatly improved, it is not 100 percent effective at
detecting infectious diseases in donors with very early infection. -(Red Cross,
2016, Web.)

-HIV doesnt always manifest in the blood right away. An individual with HIV may pass a
test as the HIV hasnt shown up in their system yet. It is different for everybody and may
show up at any time. This is the reason for the one year abstinence deferral period for
MSM.

-The main goal of the Red Cross is to assist as many people as possible. The reason
for the wait period is to ensure that they are starting with as clean blood as possible.
This is the same reason that individuals who do illegal drugs or share needles are not
eligible to donate.
(Info graph from www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics)
No
:
-This is
discrim
inating
against a group based off of who they are rather than what theyve done. For example,
this places at risk hetersexual people in a category above MSM who are monogamous
and practice safe sex. However, due to them being MSM, their blood is ignored
because of the group they belong to.

By banning a group of people from partaking in an activity based on who they


are and how they identify, that is discrimination, he said. If you think about it,
what this policy is saying is that a gay man who is in a monogamous relationship
is at higher risk than a heterosexual person who is having unprotected sex with
several partners. And that just isnt accurate.
A heterosexual man could have multiple sexual partners without practising safe
sex, and continue to be eligible for blood donation. However, a gay or bisexual
man who actively practises safe sex is excluded. On the surface, this does not
seem fair. -(Alexandra Phelan, 2015, Web).

-All of the blood is tested anyways regardless of the donor. The American red cross has
an every drop procedure where every drop of blood is tested for any diseases
including HIV. Having a procedure where all blood is tested, yet not allowing people to
donate for fear of disease, is contradictory.

-HIV affects more than gay men, yet they are the group who is ineligible to donate.
Hetersexual indivduals make up about 25% of all people who contract HIV, yet they are
still eligible to donate blood.

-By not allowing MSM to donate blood, we are missing out on a huge percentage of
donors. When the year long ban on donors who got tattoos was lifted, the Red Cross
saw an increase in about 133,000 more donors. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, gay
men showed up in the thousands to donate blood, but were turned away. When there
was a desperate need for blood, they refused to accept blood that was perfectly healthy
because of the group those people belonged to.
-There are more efficient ways to screen for HIV rather than banning a whole group.

Screening all donors by sexual behaviour rather than by sexual orientation


would increase blood stocks in times of shortage and create a safer supply by
giving a more accurate, non-discriminatory assessment.-(Alexandra Phelan,
2015, Web).

Sources:
Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDate last updated:
June 19, 2017. U.S. Statistics. HIV.gov, www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-
trends/statistics.

LGBTQ+ Donors. American Red Cross, www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/lgbtq-


donors.

Phelan, Alexandra. Why Can't Gay Men Donate Blood? The Independent,
Independent Digital News and Media, 5 Aug. 2015, www.independent.co.uk/life-
style/health-and-families/features/why-cant-gay-men-donate-blood-10426364.html.

Why so Many Gay and Bisexual Men Can't Donate Blood in the U.S. PBS,
Public Broadcasting Service, 20 Aug. 2016, www.pbs.org/newshour/show/many-gay-
bisexual-men-cant-donate-blood-u-s-2.

Statement of Goals and Choices


I wrote this piece in order to educate people about how and why gay men are not
allowed to donate blood if they have has sex in the last year. Coming into this piece I
had a huge bias as I personally believe the wait period should be lifted. To help
eliminate the bias I did research into both sides and tried to present both sides as
equally logical. My whole goal is that at the very least people will be educated, and at
the very most a change in the procedure may happen.
I wanted this to be an information piece but thought plain words would be too
boring, yet an infographic wouldnt allow me to say everything I wanted to say. As a
result I did a hybrid infographic-research paper. I had lots of information yet brought in
design elements of repetition and color along with a graphic. This was it may educate
people while still being readable and not boring. After peer reviews I saw one project
that was almost only graphics and one that was only words, so it helped me to settle
somewhere in the middle.
When deciding on a topic it was between this or the relationship between
vaccines and autism. But after some research I saw that there really was no connection
with autism and vaccines so there wasnt really anything to write about. I chose this final
idea as it is a situation that has affected me personally, and not many people know
about it.