Stop preventing gay men from donating blood
  • Petitioned Consumer Affairs Branch

This petition was delivered to:

FDA
Consumer Affairs Branch
FDA
DHHS - Shelly Burgess

Stop preventing gay men from donating blood

    1. Eric Couto
    2. Petition by

      Eric Couto

      East Providence, RI

 

After reading a news article about a man who was rejected to donate blood because of "appearing to be a homosexual", I have decided to take a stand.

The Department of Health and Human Services last year upheld their discriminatory policy on banning gay men from donating blood. According to a yahoo news article, "a recent study found that the gay ban costs hospitals 219,000 pints of blood each year".

Coming from a gay man, someone who works in the health field, and someone who has donated for the past 4 years, I find this derogative practice counterproductive and seems to set an image that HIV could possibly only be associated with gay men. About every two months when it is time to donate, I receive a daily phone call asking for a donation until I can actually make it in because of my blood type being O negative.

The CDC reported that in 2008, out of the roughly 41,269 people to have been diagnosed with HIV that year, 13,180 were infected by heterosexual contact. That means 32% of newly diagnosed cases were from heterosexuals. According to the World Health Organization HIV Data and Statistics, women made up more than half the population living with HIV in 2009.

The American Red Cross recently announced that donations were at their lowest in May and June, and that O negative was in need since anyone needing a transfusion can receive O negative. Every single donation of blood or plasma is screened for HIV, Hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. So why discriminate against homosexual men if all is tested?

Not only is this undermining one's equal rights as an American citizen, it is also hindering one's ability to serve his/her community and help those in need with the valuable benefits that donating blood, or any blood product, brings to the more than 5 million people a year that receive a blood transfusion.

Regardless of opinion on homosexuality, we as a world leader and a country built on the values of equality and freedom should realize that being gay does not mean anything when wanting to serve our neighbors in need.

Below is the link to the article from the Chicago Sun, please share this in the hopes to spread it around. As someone pursuing a career in the health field, I hope to see away with this practice to better supply our hospitals.

Will you stand with me and call on the FDA to change this absurd ban?

http://www.suntimes.com/news/6495246-417/man-says-blood-center-rejected-him-because-he-appeared-gay.html

 http://www.who.int/hiv/data/2010_globalreport_core_en.ppt#286,1,Slide 1

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 12,500 signatures
    2. Contact the FDA and put more pressure

      Eric Couto
      Petition Organizer

      I have only received one email from the FDA explaining that they are in the process of "researching". Please email them to add even more pressure! ocod@cber.fda.gov Also email Senator Kerry of MA asking for more support. 2 years is unacceptable

    3. Reached 8,000 signatures
    4. H.H.S. Might Reconsider Revising Its Archaic Ban On Gay Blood

      Joe Mirabella
      Petition Organizer

      Instinct reports H.H.S. may reconsider revising the blood ban, however it could take more than 2 years!

    5. Reached 1,000 signatures
    6. Reaching out

      Eric Couto
      Petition Organizer

      I have sent an email to the FDA spokesperson stating our cause and the unjust reasons behind it as well as emailing organizations such as HRC. Lets hope they listen! Thanks for your support and continue to spread the word

    7. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Kiana Vanover NORTON, VA
      • about 3 years ago

      What does sexual preference have to do with giving blood? We're all human, we all bleed. Blood is blood, regardless of who it comes from.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Runyon HEMPSTEAD, NY
      • about 3 years ago

      to support my brothers

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jonathan Chircop OSHAWA, CANADA
      • about 3 years ago

      This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard! The Blood is tested!

      With sex "being glorified" the way it is in today's modern society, anal sex is practically just as popular with heterosexuals as homosexuals. Not only that but, how many "straight" men are going to admit they perform anal sex or have had sexual relation's whether in curiosity or frequently with other men?

      Here in Canada one of the questions asked is "have you had sexual relations with another man or someone who may have had sex with another man since 1977?"

      This is disturbing and this madness needs to end.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rebekka Wendt SAFFORD, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      my best friend can't help save lives with the rest of my collage. why?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Andy Gaglio KIRKWOOD, MO
      • about 3 years ago

      In my opinion, the arguments against homosexual males donating blood encompasses two main ideas: social traditionalism and misconstructions of science and analysis. As the LGBT community well knows, people of differing orientations face discrimination in all regions of society whether it's social, legal, political, etc. Unfortunately this negative attitude towards LGBT persons transcends thoughts and ends up existing in policies and regulations. This application of prejudice directly affects our ability to involve ourselves in a country that we love, speaking from a person who believes that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Since we diverge from the binary system of acceptable and unacceptable utilized in conservative judgements and ideologies, misconstructions are easily accepted in the minds of traditionalists. And of course, who would want a 'dirty' persons blood in their body, right? There is no doubt involved in accusations stating that there is significant risk in allowing gay men to donate blood. And it is even easier to umbrella the argument's defense by stating that it is in the best interest of the publics general safety and health. But taking a look into the facts in an objective manner allows even a primitive thinker to understand the discrimination and lack of solid facts behind these donation regulations. The facts in the argument lie around our assumed sexual lasciviousness, risky behaviors, and HIV/AIDS standing. First, one must understand that the ratio of the gay community vs the straight community will always be higher based on our population differences. That right there discredits the idiotic statements saying that gay men pose a higher threat than other demographics. In reality, African American woman hold the highest percentage of HIV and AIDS. And the number of HIV/AIDS in the gay community is significantly decreasing. Look at the statistics.

      Another annoyance is the regulations placed on donating in other aspects like piercings, heterosexual sexual activity, and prostitution. Simply put, a man could have as much sex with as many women as he wants and he would never be rejected for his extravagant risk behavior. A person who has been exposed to gonorrhea need only wait 12 months to donate again, but a gay man for even having sex once since 1977 with another male is given a lifetime deferral (even with safe sexual behavior like condom use for oral sex and anal sex). In context, a male could have unsafe sex with numerous women without questioning. Tattoos need only wait 12 months, again healthy gay males cannot donate. A person exposed to hepatitis is required to wait twelve months. Basically, homosexuals are generalized to no more than a disease tossed away. A solution? Amending testing of blood and donation criteria related to sexual activity.

      Black women, who as previously stated hold the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases, are not immediately differed for their race, but gay men are issued a lifetime deferral for an archaic association with the virus. Black women's blood is taken in and assessed in the same process as other donations. This simple fact constitutes an amendment to the criteria on part of the FDA. Simple solutions off the top of my head include a promise of celibacy or safe sex in combination with a double testing system. Test for HIV/AIDS, make a 12 month safe sex/celibacy promise, and at the conclusion of the year test again. If negative, allow blood donations. It is understood that yes, the ratio of gay men is high but poor testing is no reason to discriminate; it is a reason for fixing the donation facilities.

      I'm a mere19 year old and I find it disgusting that over the past decades, the FDA has let this issue progress to this point. EIther it's because they lack sympathy about the reasons behind deferrals. If so, that blatantly displays discrimination in the Federal Drug Administration (given it is a government office, someone could even reference the abandonment of Constitution's message of equality--though that is a tangent for another day). Or it's because their science is skewed and lacks empirical methods. Reasons for that could simply surround a lack of experience and credentials within its employees or the that FDA functions at a level which tarnishes the organizations assumed infallibility and credibility. Please, while we focus on issues like OccupyWallstreet let's share the ambition in all aspects of society and OccupyTheFDA! We need change!

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