The Ban on Gay Blood

It was a typical Thursday evening in. A slow day turned into a night of me scrolling through my social media timelines. Suddenly, something shocking caught my eye. A post from one of my favorite weathermen contained a Link. The link sent me to a news story about pcrpep cuz the Red Cross. The organization is in desperate need of blood donations. Although this is saddening,

The author of the article mentions how he is not allowed to donate blood, since he is a gay male, who is sexually active. The Red Cross has a rule that forbids donations from gay men who have had sex within the past twelve months. This discrimination blew my mind, and still does, especially since this rule is outdated, unnecessary and needs to be removed. Like the author, I’m sure there are gay men who are HIV negative, who would want to donate in a time of need. 

This rule is listed under the Red Cross’ eligibility standards for HIV/AIDS. This rule implies that only men who have sex with other men get HIV/AIDS, thereby implying that straight people are immune to the disease. This is false. Anyone who is sexually active, no matter their sexual orientation, is at risk of contracting the virus when the proper precautions are not adhere to.

While the gay male demographic may be at a higher risk, this risk is decreasing. With the help of new medicine and treatments, the risk of transmitting the disease sexually has decreased significantly. The stereotype that exists, that all gay men having HIV/AIDS is ignorant and has been disproven.

The Red Cross needs to lift the ban, not only because they need donors, but due to the discrimination towards gay men. A solution to their lack of donors can be found in HIV ngative gay men. However, there is more that can be done to keep organization from wasting time if donated blood cannot be used.

Clinics across the country now have access to rapid HIV/AIDS, the Red Cross could benefit from test such as these. Though the blood would still be tested later on, this would at least give more gay men the opportunity to help. 

Testing the donated blood for HIV when it is received is something the Red Cross already has implemented, making one question the rule against gay men donating. While it may take months for symptoms to arise, the virus can be detected in the blood. It is understandable that they do not want to clog up needed space and time, but if someone is willing to donate and they test the blood regardless, why continue to enforce said rude?
Their rule also serves as a sign that our country needs much more HIV/AIDS awareness. People are becoming aware, such as being open with partners and learning the facts, instead of listening to social myths. We should not assume anyone’s HIV/AIDS status based on their sexual orientation.

Changing the rule is one way to stop discrimination and the stigmatizing all gay men. Perhaps they can encourage people who already know that they have the disease to not donate, this will end discrimination against gay men who are negative.

Pre-screeners at donation stations can ask if donors have specific symptoms of HIV/AIDS, running down a list of HIV/AIDS symptoms as well as other diseases, as opposed to just denying them based on their sexual orientation. If they do not have the symptoms, they should be able to donate.

The worst-case scenario? The virus is found in the blood, after it is donated but before it is used . The best case? The Red Cross has more blood to use in their time of need. 

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