Teh Gayers and blood donations

We\’ve the usual screams about homophobia over this change to the blood donation rules. Liberal Conspiracy had one, The Guardian has one today. You know, \”Iz it \’cos I\’m Gay?\” sort of stuff. And as it is, isn\’t that a condemnation of the state of our society, the hatred of the other….cont. pg 94.

Umm, actually, no it isn\’t.

Here\’s what I suspect (no, not what I can prove) is actually going on.

There are various high risk groups that we would really rather weren\’t donating blood into the blood banks. Yes, there are tests for all sorts of things but they\’re not perfect. We\’d rather like to avoid the sort of thiong that happened to the haemophiliacs a few decades back, when damn near all of them (yes, hyperbole) were infected as a result of insufficient screening of blood donations.

Those high risk groups include people who have ever had a blood donation, those who have had sex in certain foreign countries where HIV is widespread, those who have ever had the clap of any type and, yes, homosexual men. The who can and who cannot rules are quite sophisticated: lesbians may (so it\’s not about fear or hatred of the other, it\’s about the mechanics of copulation, the sharing of which bodily fluids where) and men who have had sex with a prostitute in the past year may not.

That was the situation rather. Then add the 2010 Equalities Act to the picture. Saying \”you\’re a poopchuter, no way\” is now illegal, for this is discrimination on the basis of sexuality, something in and of itself illegal. But being a poopchuter, whether it\’s an entirely valid expression of your sexuality or not, is indeed high risk behaviour and we\’d rather like to keep that blood out of the blood supply. And it\’s also precisely that as well: any combination of frotting or oral sex with whoever one wishes is not such high risk behaviour.

But as a result of Harry Harwoman\’s Act, we\’re not actually allowed to say this. Thus the, yes, I agree it\’s absurd, statement that if you\’re one of Teh Gayers you can only give blood if you\’re celibate, if you haven\’t had sex in a decade.

Without the Equalities Act we could have continued on our merry way: no gay men and accept that some 7% do in fact donate anyway. That 7% we rather hope being those who have indeed been careful about what they do where and with whom.

Hypocrisy in short, the British Way, something we do so very well.

4 thoughts on “Teh Gayers and blood donations”

  1. It’s a simple cost/benefit thing from the blood banks point of view. Virus screening is done on pooled samples of blood (take 96 people, take a sample from each, stick together and test). If a pool sample comes back positive you then have to either discard all of the individual donations or screen them all individually. And the higher the prevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV and so on in the donor population the more pooled samples will be positive making more waste or work (waste by another name).

    The hemos mostly got hepatitis C because the virus wasn’t identified, and thus screen-for-able until relatively recently. It’s also a lot more common (at least 10 fold) and more infectious than HIV. That screening subsequently was inadequate and took too long to set up is another story for another day.

    Also, the fact they get clotting factor concentrates from hundreds or thousands of people at a time also dramatically increases their infection risk as compared to someone who just needs the odd transfusion.

  2. Ahh, you’ve just hit my pedantic sore spot: you mean ‘chaste’, not ‘celibate’. Celibate means unmarried.

  3. In Belgium you can’t donate blood if you lived in the UK in the 80’s – mad cow disease, of course.

  4. Those high risk groups include people who have ever had a blood donation, those who have had sex in certain foreign countries…

    Had sex in? Merely having been there is enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *