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Interview: THT’s policy chief on gay blood, drugs and controversial campaigns

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  1. thisis exactly the same argument that insurance companies used to deny life assurance.

    If you can apply a blanket ban, you can apply other sorts of blanket sanctions. We can’t these people SEE this

  2. You can hardly compare the two – denying life insurance to gay men means they lose out directly on the benefits of having life insurance. In the blood donation ban, gay men aren’t losing out on anything – the risk is to the people receiving blood products.

    I honestly don’t understand the attitude of LGBT organisations to the NBS’s policy – are we still really that in denial about HIV infection in the gay community?

  3. The problem with the ban is, it assumes that ALL gay men are only having unprotected sex. This isn’t the case. What about hetro unprotected promiscuity? Not all gay men are sexually active. Some are in a long term exclusive relationships. It doesn’t allow for the types of sex that gay men are having. I get really mad at the Hetro image of Gay=HIV. That is the kind of idea that prevented me coming out in the 1980’s and caused me lon term emotional damage. It isn’t necessarily about equality….its about not making assumptions that all gay men are at risk or “riddled” with HIV.

  4. Ford Hickson 9 Jun 2008, 2:27pm

    I disagree with Andrew. We are losing out on being able to “do something amazing”. My dad had his name inscribed in the role of honour at the Manchester transfusion service for his long-term donations, and a little enamel badge with two interlocking hearts. I’d always planned to do the same thing. Not being able to do so casues me some pain. as giving blood for a stranger in need seems to be about as caring a gift as you can give and it is hurtful to have your gift refused.

    Despite this, I think the ban on men who have had sex with men from donating blood is sensible public health policy when the number of donations lost is weighed against the reduction in HIV risk.

  5. Michael Preston 9 Jun 2008, 3:22pm

    What a pity the THT only seem to use the word bisexual when they want money off people. In an almost identical way to Stonewall, whenever the organisation is asking for donations it’s always LGBT this and LGBT that, but give an interview, (your article has some 3,877 words) and suddenly the word bisexual disappears.

    How strange.

    I for one, will be more inclined to give my money to organisations serving the needs of the queer community when they can recognise that I exist all the time, not just when they need a cheque.

  6. But it’s still a fact that gay and bisexual men are more at risk of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis – all viruses that can be passed through blood products – that heterosexual people. Yes, heterosexual people are at risk of these as well, and the I think the NBS does need to be more rigourous in screening heterosexual people who have had unprotected sex, but the risk is still signifcantly lower.

    People forget that there are still occasionally people who become infected with HIV as a result of blood transfusions – it’s a small number, but it does happen. So the screening procedures as they are, do not have a 100% guarantee of preventing infection from BBVs. If the NBS were to allow gay and bisexual men – who are the highest risk group in the UK and it’s estimated a third are unaware of their status – then people receiving blood transfusions are put at greater risk. And that’s EVERYONE who could potentially receive a blood transfusion, including you and me.

    If people take the time to understand the logic behind the NBS’s policies – and I admit they could do a better job of presenting it – then we can maybe understand it better.

  7. Martyn Butler 18 Jun 2008, 2:18am

    A remarkable in depth and frank interview covering some so delicate subjects, many of the issues the THT faces every day and have done since the very first time HIV was mentioned in Capital Gay, The THT has had to walk a tightrope, sometimes the news is not good but we must as gay men face up to our responsibilities to ourselves, community and realities of the epidemic.
    By educating myself about hiv it seems crystal clear to me that with so much risky behaviour still taking place among gay men as evidenced in new infections and all STD’s it would be irresponsible for a sexually active man to give blood.
    I always play safe, but nothing is 100% there are no guarantees – But I would NEVER want to put another person at risk from a serious disease – one way of doing that is not offering my blood for transfusion. Im sad about that – but its pointless being angry about it.

    I loved the Drugfucked Site – brilliant concept – well written, cleverly targeted and engaging.

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