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?