I donated blood.
No, I am not going to go into the details, as some of you might have hematophobia – fear of blood or the sight of blood.
Still, I would like to post these two pictures up. ;P
You see, all potential donors have to fill out a registration form.
They would have to answer questions like have you had acupuncture or body piercing for the past 6 months, taken antibiotics for the past 7 days, a cold in the past week, dental surgery, etc.
All these questions are to gauge the suitability of the donor and blood.
On the final page, before I put down my signature at the bottom, there is this little disclaimer, which says Please do not donate if you fall into any of the following groups.
Noticed the second item?
That is an outright discrimination!
Anyway, I thought that this must have been a remnant from the British.
At the National Blood Service website in the U.K., I looked for the FAQs. One of them will definitely be who can or cannot donate blood.
The site even had an online list of yes or no questions to screen potential donors.
There are twenty-seven questions. Most of the questions are similar to the registration form I filled out.
Question twelve asks:
Are you a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man (even if you used a condom)?
Four questions later, this question pops up - Have you had sex during the last 12 months with a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man?
If you click yes for any of the two, another page turns up with the message:
Thank you for your time...
But it seems you are not able to give blood.
Yeah, bloody right I can't!
Have you had sex during the last 12 months with someone who has received payment for sex with money or drugs or someone who has injected drugs including body building drugs?
The American Red Cross lists same-sex intercourse under HIV/AIDS. Which, I feel, is a little more tactful. But of course, the message remains the same.
You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.
You are at risk for getting infected if you:
• have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
• are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
• have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
• have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
• received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia
In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense for them to blanket discriminate like that. And I do realise we are not talking about human lives here and that the blood banks are being extremely careful.
In fact, not many people are coming forward to donate blood, for whatever valid or invalid reasons.
Generally, men are more suitable donors *hint hint*, as women has that monthly discharge thingy which usually means they either have low iron in their blood or low blood pressure.
In addition, blood donation has its benefits too. Donating blood is believed to aid the rejuvenation of red blood cells and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, especially in men. It also helps to control blood iron levels, which is important for older men.
Not to mention the lives that will be saved from the blood transfusions, like leukemia patients and accident victims.
Anyway, what I am getting at is that this discrimination is illogical. If the banks are really serious about blood safety, the same stringent restrictions should be applied to the breeders too.
Having the restriction that sex with men under any circumstances is too broad-handed. What about oral sex then? Frottage?
It seems to imply that vaginal sex, oral and even anal sex between straights, are safer than sex of any kind between men, not taking into account other factors like whether a condom is used or not.
From the looks of it, the hospitals' and blood banks' only concerns are number of sex partners and prostitutes.
Though "multiple sex partners" is ambiguous – how many is multiple anyway? Two? Twenty?
On the other hand, I am not denying that anal sex, insertive or receptive, is riskier than vaginal sex.
But to deny someone from donating blood on the basis of having sex with men alone, without even stating which kind, is outright discriminatory.
As the radio ad says, the HIV/AIDS virus doesn’t discriminate (heck, all STDs don't discriminate). Why should you?