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Monday, September 12, 2011

Should Gays Be Allowed To Donate Blood?

It's an issue that has been discussed - and continues to be discussed.

Last Friday, the UK decided to lift the ban on prohibiting gays from donating blood.

From Times Of India: UK Lifts Ban, Says Gays Can Donate Blood
LONDON: Britain said Thursday it was lifting a ban on gay men giving blood providing they have had not had sexual intercourse within a year.

A lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men was introduced in Britain in the 1980s as a response to the spread of AIDS and HIV.

But a review by a panel of leading experts and patient groups found it could no longer support their exclusion. However, gay men who have had anal or oral sex the past 12 months will still be barred from donating blood, the department of health said.

But then, just four days later, in what could be considered Tragic Irony, there's this from the Daily Mail Online:

Medics Infect 23 Children With HIV After Giving Them Contaminated Blood Transfusions In India

Twenty-three children suffering from a rare genetic disorder have been infected with HIV after receiving tainted blood in western India, it emerged today.

All the children had received free transfusions at a government-run hospital in the Junagadh district of Gujarat state between January and August.

The youngsters, who are all from poor families, all suffer from thalassemia, a genetic disorder that requires regular transfusions.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to not produce the correct globulin protein, creating unusable blood and resulting in anaemia.

State government spokesman Jai Narayan Vyas said a team of doctors has been sent to investigate.

How very sad. Tragic. Children and their poor families suffering with one blood disorder now have to deal with a second disease. The source of the infected blood has yet to be determined, but it's more than likely that it came from an HIV-positive donor. It could have come from anybody - perhaps the donor was a homosexual man. Maybe not, but the chances are good. Perhaps better than good.

Bottom line - I think the UK's policy change is terrible. And there are groups in the US clamoring for the same change. Maybe instead of relying on the gays' word that they've kept their privates out of the intestines of another man for at least a year, why not just test their blood prior to donating? In fact, why not do that for everybody? You know, for the children? It's not like the gays will die from being prohibited to donate, will they? Unlike an unwitting patient?