Why Can’t Gay Men Give Blood? An Analysis
I gave blood this week. But if I had sucked c*ck or done a dude I met on Grindr anytime in the last year, they would have turned me away. After scores of gay men were denied from donating blood in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, many of our gay leaders and elected officials decried the ban on blood donations from sexually active gay men as yet another form of discrimination.
Is the gay blood ban scientifically sound, or just legacy bullshit from a notoriously change-averse medical industry? We put lead medical researchers from John D. and Catherine T. MacBroke-Ass Foundation on the case to find out why gay men still cannot donate blood, and whether this ban is medically justified.
THEY DON’T TAKE ‘ALL TYPES’
Gay men were initially banned from donating blood in 1983, during the rise of the AIDS outbreak. The notion was that that gay men’s blood was exceptionally high-risk for HIV and hepatitis, so some infected blood might initially test negative but still creep into the supply and infect previously uninfected blood recipients This ban remained in place for more than 30 years.
In late 2015, the FDA changed the rules to accept gay men’s blood. Gay men can now donate blood, but are required to have been celibate for one year in order to do so.
That can’t possibly work! What guy is going to admit he hasn’t gotten laid in a full year?
THEY ASK SOME PRETTY PERSONAL QUESTIONS WHEN YOU GIVE BLOOD
The questionnaire when you donate blood gets awfully damn personal. It’s not just that way for gay men. Any women who’s been fucked while traveling abroad, or has had sex with a guy who’s had sex with another guy is also affected by these restrictions.
What seems curious to me is that regulating donated blood falls under the jurisdiction of the Food & Drug Administration. Unless you’re a vampire, human blood is neither a food nor a drug! I’m no doctor, but I wonder if Health & Human Services or the CDC might be better medically equipped to make these decisions.
Donated blood is already tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, West Nile, you name it. Considering that the Zika virus has marginally appeared in California, there is always the teeniest remote chance that donated blood can be infected (0.02%, actually). They test it pretty thoroughly and they usually find any infections, regardless of who you fuck, in what country and whether you might have scored money or drugs in the process.
In all honesty, there is no shortage of donated blood right now (despite the regularity of mass shootings). The estimated 4% boost to US blood supply that would be provided by including sexually active gay men’s donations would not significantly add to the available arsenal.
It’s more that sexually active gay men (and the women who occasionally fuck them) feel insulted and discriminated against by this policy. They can’t give blood even when their community has been massacred. And it may be for reasons that are 30 years old and no longer valid.