Monday, March 19, 2007

Blood donation ban on gay men is questioned

Today, WJLA (Channel 7) reported a critical shortage of donate blood in the Washington DC area, to the point that elective surgeries were being postponed. I have O negative blood. I am legally excluded from donating blood because I have had a proscribed sexual act since 1977, according to FDA regulations. I do believe that my antibody (Elisa, Western Blot) and antigen tests for HIV would be negative if done today.

There is a bit of bad karma about this. In January, 1998, I received some donated blood at the University of Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis after a six-hour surgery to repair an acetabular fracture (hip and pelvis) sustained from a fall on a wet floor in a convenience store. I recovered completely.

There is a story by Bob Roehr in the Bay Area Reporter, "FDA inches toward easing gay blood donation ban," at this link, March 15, 2007. The proposal is to replace the ban with a twelve month deferral. There is a new technology called the OraQuick test.

Here is a link to my earlier discussion of the blood donation ban (dated 2000).

Update: 4/4/2007

Joyce Howard Price has a story in The Washington Times: "Breakthrough makes all blood types universal." A new process that could be commercially available in about three years would "convert" Types A, B, and AB blood into type O, the universal donor type. Such a development would help alleviate blood shortages, and it could reduce long range pressure to lift the "ban" on previously active gay male blood donors. The story is here.

Picture (unrelated): student free speech demonstration at Supreme Court March 19, 2007.

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