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Dana-Farber running out of O-negative blood

The cancer center reports it now has less than a day's worth of O-negative blood and is looking for folks with that type who could make a donation.

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But I can not donate because I am a gay man who had sex with another gay man in the last year. It doesn't matter that I am HIV negative. It doesn't matter that they test all blood for HIV anyway. It doesn't matter that a straight person who has HIV can donate without questions.

The blood donation rules in this country are homophobic and nonsensical. The truth is that Dana Farber and the entire health car system would rather let people die than accept my blood because I am gay.

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I have spent 18 years donating platelets to Children's Hospital, but while at my previous employer coordinated 4 blood drives a year for 7 years. This has been a long standing issue and I have never been able to understand the reasoning behind the edict of no blood from gay men. I worked in an area of Boston were gay cohabitation is prevalent and most are in LONG TERM relationships without HIV or any other issues. I don't see them asking lesbian women if they are in a relationship. MY hope is the medical community (Nationally) will finally see the light and let gay men donate.

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I know this may cause a pooh storm of comments but, What are you doing to change the rules rather than posting anonymously on some local thread?

I'm not being mean, but it seems we have reached a point post initial HIV hysteria that the rules should be changed, it is just I don't have a dog in this hunt, but it sounds like you do.

I'm O Neg by the way and will try to donate soon.

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I should as an individual, fight to change the rules made by the Feds and Red Cross in consultation with the hospitals? How is that going to work? That's pure garbage.
Btw, I wrote to ex Senator Barrios, an out gay man, when he was appointed head of the regional Red Cross, on this very subject. I got no response.
And my post here is hopefully raising some awareness.
You say you dont have a "dog in this hunt".That's also garbage. If you or a loved one dies some day because of lack of blood, because I or another gay individual cant donate HIV negative blood, that's your problem. It's easy for me NOT to donate.

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I should as an individual, fight to change the rules made by the Feds and Red Cross in consultation with the hospitals?

Yep. That's how democracy works. You seem to be pretty passionate about this subject - although I don't understand why you chose to dump on Dana Farber in particular about rules set by a GOP-dominated federal legislature. Has DF supported the current (arguably homophobic) restrictions? A quick google didn't turn up anything, but I admit this is not a topic I monitor closely.

Anon-posting here and supposedly sending a letter to a Red Cross director is a start, but your whiney and dismissive response to John's legit comment makes it sound like you're mostly into feeling righteously aggrieved.

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If you were a drug addict and shared needles I don't think they take your blood either. Or if you have visited certain countries .... So if you want to take it as homophobic so be it or you could just take it as a rule of percentages and cost. They are eliminating some costs up front by not taking blood from sources where the potential for problems is higher.

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Blood donation facilities follow the FDA's recommendations. It keeps them from being sued by patients with adverse outcomes. Yes, they test all the blood, but no test is 100% accurate.

I think this is the most recent update on the issue:
http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/Questionsab...

It does suck that people who are willing are excluded from the donor pool but they have to devise rules that can be universally followed without making decisions about each individual's suitability on a case-by-case basis.

They do ask all presenting donors if they have ever tested positive for HIV.

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Morally right or wrong, gay men are still more likely to contract HIV than heterosexuals. Probably best to err on the side of caution. A year waiting period is better than a life time ban, but a year wait is probably the best the guidelines will be any time soon. For what it's worth, porn stars and intravenous drug users (the others at higher than normal risk for STD's) are banned as well. May not be right, but one could argue its the smart choice.

Blood donation rules are not homophobic, nor nonsensical, see above. The truth is most PEOPLE would probably prefer the rules stay as they are. Yes, we still live in a homophobic society, but facts are facts.

Personally, no I would not rather die than get a blood transfusion from someone who is gay. But again, risk mitigation.

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What's the main risk as it relates to O Negative, Bloody Kisses?

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Is O-negative immune from HIV and other STD's?

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I believe.

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I thought O+ was the best match universal thingy.

But I'm not a medical professional.

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O+ is almost universal (can't be used with A-, B-, or AB-) but O- can be used with all types. Plus, O- patients can *only* receive O- blood. No other option will work.

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How much risk does a Christian Woman present?

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Does she inject IV drugs?

Does her partner/husband?

Does her husband cheat on her (or does she cheat on her husband) with an IV drug user or persons in the sex trade?

I could go on, but it would yet again start to sound like "why profiling doesn't work".

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">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sMALbhJU6M[/youtube]

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That's the official line, and it is bullcrap.

It has to do with certain people who are unwilling to accept that the opioid crisis is a far greater threat to the blood supply than gay men, with antiquated attitudes, and politics.

If you think that Jeremy or Jennifer IV injector is going to not sell their O- blood for a premium price during this shortage and lie about their habits you are not running on all cylinders.

Once there were adequate tests for HIV in the blood supply, this prohibition ceased to have anything to do with science.

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Notice I didn't say it was totally new, but this crisis we see now days is relatively new. Further more there's an assumption people will tell the truth. Otherwise what's to stop a gay man from saying he isn't gay, or that he hasn't had sex with another man in the past year? Any one can lie.

To my knowledge the best tests still take up to 11 days to detect the HIV virus, lots can happen in 11 days.

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Here's where this policy becomes discriminatory - that a gay man in a monogamous relationship is banned, while a straight man in a monogamous relationship is welcomed.

*just being gay* isn't a risk factor anymore - it's other behavior that's risky, and that's also being screened for (like paying for sex, IVDU, etc.)

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The FACTS are gay men are more likely to get HIV then straight men. I didn't make this up.

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That isn't an informative fact, taken in the vacuum that you are putting around it.

The fact is that banning gay men from donating doesn't solve the problem.

And has nothing to do with anything remotely scientific.

I'd like to know what qualifies you to make these statements and comment on their ramifications - I'm guessing that you aren't in public health or epidemiology or any medical field if you can't figure this out.

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For fellow epidemiologists!

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What you're saying sounds like opinion, and emotion. I've presented the facts as I know them to be. Please feel free to correct me with more facts, and not opinion. So are gay men less likely to contract HIV and /or AIDS? Can anyone, be they gay or an IV drug user lie about those activities? Does blood donation not rely on people telling the truth? For the record I didn't come up with the Feds rules, but they do have a basis to draw from.

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They're using "gay male" as a proxy for "has lots of unsafe sex and/or is IV drug user," when there's no evidence of a correlation. They also explicitly ask about the actual problem behaviors, and if they don't trust that donors are going to answer those honestly, why do they even bother with a questionnaire? Its homophobia, plain and simple.

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There have been three such epidemics within my lifetime, two post-HIV.

There were several before that.

In fact, IV drug use during the previous heroin epidemic was one of the major reasons that the virus became endemic to our country and spread rapidly before antiviral treatments became available. It was also a major headache for the blood supply since people feeding their addictions are also happy to sell their blood and lie about their behavior to do so.

Try again.

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Thanks for setting me straight, I don't pretend to know everything, nor did I say I was an expert in epidemics. From what I've read, OD's are greater now than they've been ever before. Rising by over 100 percent in some states.

I don't think I need to try again though. Like I said IV users are banned as well. And it sucks but it pretty much has to work on the honor system.

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They don't. All you need is some Preparation H and to cool off a bit before going in for the sale.

That's the problem with profiling and questionnaires.

If this were a valid approach, all medical personnel who worked prior to universal precautions being enforced would also be banned due to the Hep C risk.

They aren't.

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Gay men who have had sex in the past year can donate blood, as long as they lie about it, just like heroin junkies can.

Just like the gay sex, they ask about intravenous drug use. And tattoos. And other things, most of which I have forgotten since I am banned from giving blood (too much time in the British Isles, most of which was spent in the relatively BSE free Republic of Ireland.) I might not agree with the things that disqualify people, but don't make it seem like junkies have it easier than gay men do when it comes to blood donation.

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the first three jennifers?

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The problem is that you can have HIV for three months without it showing up on the test (https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/hiv-testing/post-test-re...). If it showed up right away I would think that the rules might change.

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From your source:

For combination antibody/antigen tests or RNA tests, that timeframe may be shorter.

This is exactly the type of test that blood banks use:

Blood donations are required to be tested both for presence of antibodies to HIV and for HIV ribonucleic acid (RNA). RNA testing detects HIV at an earlier stage than HIV antibody testing.

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/reduce-your-risk/blood-t...

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... those rules are antiquated and unnecessary. but it's not just gay folks, not that that makes it any better. i routinely get turned down because i take medication for epilepsy. oh, and because twenty-five years ago i might've taken money or drugs for sex. it's a lifetime ban on blood donation. so anybody i had sex with in the past 12-months is also barred from donation.

i support the red cross and other places in other ways. i donate my time or my money. and i do what i can to de-stigmatize people who do, or have done, sex work.

and i support you in pointing out that pointless rules are pointless.

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unless they want to pay me, i'll keep it thanks.

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The Strategy. BEFORE sex get tested TOGETHER for A VARIETY OF STIs Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus than make an INFORMED decision, google... tested together before sex

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If you have O negative blood?

(wearing condoms works pretty well for the non-relationship minded ...)

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as a first date all the time

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I haven't been able to give blood in the U.S. for years. Why? Because I lived in Britain for more than 3 months. This was more than 25 years ago, yet there is still supposedly a risk that I might pass mad cow disease via my blood.

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Who is able to donate blood in the United Kingdom?

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She was born there, moved here as a young child, has been here for at least 25 years, but can't donate. No idea why.

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What to do if you are deferred from donating blood?
http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/if-...
redcrossblood. org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/if-you-are-not-eligible

Anatomical Gifts
http://www.bumc.bu.edu/anatneuro/anatomical-gifts/

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