Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Advocate reports on Blade, military ban, HIV blood donation issue

Well, for right now, I’m turning to The Advocate for leading edge news.

Three stories are at issue:

First, Julie Bolcer has an article “Newspaper Owner: I tried to save The Blade”, an account of Nicholas F. Benton, owner of the Falls Church News-Press to reorganize the (holding) company according to normal Chapter 11 procedures and keep the Blade and other newspapers operating. The link is here.

The November 2009 issue has a story on p 54 by Michael Joseph Gross, “Straight Guys Tell”, in which he does some on-foot reporting from Fort Lewis Washington, where he describes how homophobia used to be used as a bonding tool, but younger soldiers generally don’t find that semi-open homosexuality interferes with the esprit de corps that military unit cohesion requires, especially after early training. There is also an interview with Rep. Patrick Murphy, himself an Iraq war veteran.

On p 50 there is an article by Steven W. Trasher, “Blood, Sex and the FDA: Despite recent policy changes in other countries and technological advances in screening for HIV in donated blood, the FDA stands firm: Gay men pose far too great a risk to give blood. Will we ever be allowed to donate again?” The last words are in a red box. The window after exposure until antigen tests can reliably detect infection is down to less than one month. There are calculations and simulations, and legitimate questions as to the results of comparisons to other high-risk behaviors from heterosexuals. There are also hypothetical concerns about as yet undetected or undiscovered infectious agents, an argument that NBC science reporter Robert Bazell had made back in the 1980s.

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