Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gays, Bloodborne Disease, and Compassion

Washington D.C. College students, having given up on the FDA directly, are pressuring the American Red Cross, which collects most of the nation's blood, to change it's policy banning gay men from being donors. Activists say that if they can get the Red Cross to change its stance, the FDA will follow.
http://www.queerday.com

Why? Why are they doing this? If I participated in acts that made my blood suspect, the last thing I would want to do is endanger the inventory that people depend upon. The last thing I would want to do is effect healthcare decisions or effect the confidence or treatment of sick people. People have to be very ill before they get blood, and they have enough worries without adding the fear of bloodborne disease.

Because of AIDS and hepatitis patients now receive blood only as a last resort. Because of all the deaths and infections produced in hemophiliacs and others, the confidence in our blood supply is still in a state of recovery. The tests we use to screen donor units are better than they used to be, but the tests and the system aren't perfect.

Is there anything more selfish and self-centered than the action of these activists? Couldn't they for a moment just poke their heads outside their self-absorbed, sick little world and think of the men, women, and children they are effecting?

4 comments:

Christina said...

Hmmm...if these activists succeed in getting the blood of gay men in the general blood supply and that blood ends up being given to me or my family, and one of us would end up with AIDS or another STD, then aren't these gay men (and the activists who so self-righteously advocate this position)forcing their lifestyle on me and my family? Their harmful and completely destructive choices are then forced on me, by no choice of my own. Doesn't that violate my rights in some way? Where's the compassion these people always preach?

And on a related note, I can't even begin to express how angry I would be if a member of my family were to contract a deadly disease from such an utterly selfish and completely ridiculous idea. No medical professional should be able to go along with this idea because it has the great potential to cause harm to others, which seems to directly oppose the Hippocratic oath.

Malott said...

Christina,
Think of the risk for you and your family and then multiply it several hundred times and you get a sense of what is at stake for hemophiliacs.
In order to get enough coagulation factor VIII to treat them you have to go through a lot of units... increasing their risk substantially.
Then you have heart transplant patients...
And people with chronic anemia can go through hundreds of units in a lifetime.

Granted, I wouldn't want to receive the blood of anyone that was promiscuous, but gays just add yet another dimension.

God just didn't design our bodies to be used the way they use them.

janice said...

This is just another attempt to normalize their lifestyle.

Malott said...

Correction,

Factor VIII in now synthesized. So if it is still extracted from donor units at all, it's on a smaller scale.