amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, June 12, 2008

happy national blood donour week

if you can give blood, please do so.

i would like to be able to give blood but i am not able to.

i have had sex with men who have sex with men. this puts me on the hiv risk list along with gay men and bisexual men. there’s a questionnaire that potential donours have to fill out and in the section on HIV risk (pdf file downloadable from CBS:

“There are certain things that people do that put them at risk for getting and spreading the HIV virus. You are at risk if: You are a male who has had sex with another male, since 1977...You have had sex with someone who has done any of
the things listed above.”

What is sex, according to the questionnaire?
"Sex refers to any of the following activities even if a condom or barrier device was used:
• Vaginal intercourse (contact between penis and vagina)
• Oral sex (mouth or tongue on someone’s vagina, penis or anus)
• Anal intercourse (contact between penis and anus)."

the CBS does run an HIV test, but "the tests for HIV cannot
detect 100% of HIV infections," so the best thing they think to do is to ban gay & bi men and their partners."

is there a blood shortage in Canada?

According to Ross MacGillivray, UBC Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Centre for Blood Research, "“Ninety percent of Canadians will receive a blood product at some point in their lives, but less than four percent of Canadians donate blood regularly. There is a profound disconnect there,” says MacGillivray. In fact, CBR researchers argue that if this trend continues, today’s shortages of blood and blood products could become chronic, and Canada will likely experience a much more significant shortage."

yet there's still a ban and...

there’s currently a lawsuit going on where a gay man and his partner who have both tested negative for HIV/AIDS were not allowed to donate blood. Mark Wainberg, the director of the McGill AIDS Centre in Montreal, is writing a report which he says will focus on how the advances in HIV testing have made a lifetime ban unnecessary. The basic idea is that gay men are promiscuous. That, of course, excludes those gay men who’ve been in a single, long term faithful relationship. Aside from that, HIV testing has gotten much better than it was when these rules were first put in place.

Another interesting article talks about queers at McGill & their battle to end blood donour discrimination.

Now let’s talk about disclosure. Someone who is out of the closet about being gay or bi is NOT eligible to give blood. The person who is is the lover of a closeted person is not going to know that she isn't eligible to give blood. The closeted person may not give blood, but he might. We can't control that. Since the HIV test isn’t 100% accurate, there’s a chance that the closeted person or his lover will pass on HIV/AIDS.

the fact is there’s no way to eliminate the risk for HIV/AIDS unless you take the blood of a virgin who has never travelled to Africa or gone to jail.

even if a loved one needs blood, i can’t give it to them. does this piss me off? you bet. is it discriminatory and ignorant? absolutely. do i think you should give blood right now if you’re able to do it? yes, i do.

1 comment:

Allan said...

I was discussing this with a friend just the other day. We were arguing whether or not homosexuals are "disenfranchised". The official definition of disenfranchisement is when a group can't vote or is barred from other civil rights. My friend points out the facts that your post discusses and asked me, is donating blood a civil right? Is marriage? Homosexuality is an issue our society really needs to be more accepting of. I applaude your honesty,
Al