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Gay son prevented from donating blood to dying mother

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  1. Mihangel apYrs 4 Jan 2010, 9:13pm

    if he offered and she agreed their interference was at least mischievious and ideological, and not based on science.

    He ought to have sued the ears off them

  2. Yes, this is manslaughter.

  3. They need to stop dragging their heels and sort out this illogical rule now. People are dying in the meantime that could be saved.

  4. Vincent Poffley 4 Jan 2010, 10:22pm

    There are tests that can be done on a person’s blood to see whether it is infected with HIV and other diseases. They’re available free at GUM clinics across the country. Why are they not available to people in situations like this?

  5. Re: Vincent Poffley
    That is only partially true. An individual’s blood can be infected with HIV, but it may take up to 6 months for the antibodies to become present in the blood. The precautionary tests do not detect HIV, they detect the antibodies. So if an individual were infected and did not yet have the antibodies, then his/her blood would pass the test and would infect whoever it were given to.
    (I agree with you; I just thought I should clear that up for anyone else reading.)

    Regardless, this is the case for any person: gay, straight. In our modern scientific world, this legislation has been proven to be nothing more than antiquated bigotry. It need to be history.

  6. Vincent Poffley 5 Jan 2010, 12:46am

    Actually, there are tests which pick up the virus itself, not just the antibodies, and that will show up an infection acquired as recently as one week ago. These tests are slightly more expensive than the traditional ones however, which is why they are not in general use. Nevertheless, the principle still stands – why can someone who has not had risky sex for the period needed for the test to work (three months for the cheaper ones, a week for the more expensive) just take the test and then donate blood if it is clean?

  7. Well I still support the ban, because in the majority of cases there is a higher risk than with straights. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and in instances such as this, they could have screened the guy first. Screening everyone before every blood donation is unfeasible and expensive, but should it potentially save someone’s life, the rules should be waived.

    Much that this is an unfortunate case, it’s not like they were after bone marrow or suchlike, which is difficult to find a match, blood is freely available in all types if required, and by not donating his blood, it certainly didn’t prevent his Mother’s unfortunate demise. This again, is another Pink News storm in an eggcup, and should be ignored for it’s tabloid shock value.

  8. RobN supports a homophobic law. What a surprise.

    Is there actually any form of homophobia you don’t support, Rob? Or is it because you just like to cause a fuss?

  9. notmyname 5 Jan 2010, 3:15am

    This is actually one of the main reasons I am glad I am still a virgin. I like giving blood and I know the day after I finally have sex I will be removing myself from the NBS.

  10. Of course, you can always lie about having gay sex. Since the rule is idiotic, and the blood is tested regardless, this is probably the best way to deal with the nonsense. Unless, of course, they find a way to brand us…

  11. Jean-Paul Bentham 5 Jan 2010, 7:25am

    Mihangel ap Yrs (1):

    Agreed 100%.

    Bonne et Heureuse Année 2010!

  12. Transmission statistics

    The ban needs lifting.

  13. Ford Hickson 5 Jan 2010, 12:38pm

    Are all of us who are against the blanket ban carrying organ donor cards?

    We should be. You might even argue that unless we do our objection to the ban is not driven by a care for the health of others. Gay men are not barred from carrying organ donor cards and this prompts us to think about why the blood ban is there and what it is people are objecting to. It’s also good way to get a conversation going, especially if people see your card and say “You shouldn’t being carrying that casue you’re gay…”.

    Can I urge everyone to get on the organ donors register. One organ donor can save several lives.

  14. Tim Hopkins 5 Jan 2010, 12:48pm

    Vincent is right about the delay period before a positive test for the virus being around a week after the person becomes infected. All UK blood donations are already tested using this test (the blood is tested after it’s donated). The blood service’s argument is that this test is not 100% accurate – there is a small chance of HIV positive blood showing up negative on the test, for a number of reasons, such as human error. Therefore, they claim, no matter how long since you last had sex, you could have HIV and your donated blood might get through the HIV screening test.

    The blood services say they have calculated that if the ban was a 12 month ban after sex between men, rather than a lifetime ban, there would be about one extra unit of HIV positive blood getting into supplies per year. But they have failed to publish any calculations considering the effects of more targeted questions, eg asking what kind of sex you have had, or to explain why lifting the total ban in other countries appears to have led to a reduction in HIV positive blood in their blood supplies.

    It is the pressure brought by organisations like NUS, campaigning on this issue, that has finally forced SaBTO (the UK wide Committee responsible for coming up with these rules) to look at this again. And perhaps this time they might publish their results and calculations, instead of maintaining their previous attitude which seems to be “we’re the scientists, we’re right, and you couldn’t possibly understand why”.

  15. The story does not say that she died because she did not get blood…
    Her death is not directly linked to the non acceptance of the blood of the son…

  16. It’s a disgrace that in the 21st Century this ban is still in effect. Yet again it assumes that all gay people have ‘risky’ sex. The majority don’t, probably less so than the st8 community because we are more tuned into the consequences. All this shows is that there still is the old prejudice and ignorance against gay people. Having said that the recent HIV infection jump with 18-24 year olds will do nothing to help the cause, one that homophobes will only be too happy to jump aboard!

  17. David:(8) “RobN supports a homophobic law. What a surprise.”

    And how typical of you to accuse me of homophobia. I did not reiterate my reasons as to why I agree with this ban simply because we have covered this ground on these forums enough times before.

    Would you have unprotected sex with someone you didn’t know well just because they said “They were OK?” – I hope your answer is no.
    The same edict applies with gay men giving blood. Whether you like the idea or not, and you have the sex life of a eunuch does not change the fact that statistically, gay men have a higher chance of carrying the HIV virus. QED, it is better to eliminate this potential risk, even though the blood is screened. There have been numerous occasions around the world where blood banks have become infected through mistakes, so better we take all steps to minimise the possibility.

    I fully support Simon Murphy and others suggestions that sub-Saharan Africans and some Asians such as Thailand should also be prevented from blood donation on the same grounds.

    This is neither homophobic, nor racist, but simply common sense and weighing up the pros and cons. We always need blood donors, but at what cost? If it is an option between a handful of gay men that frankly, probably wouldn’t donate anyway, but just whinge at the perceived minority persecution, and some innocent contracting a terminal illness just because you want equality, I know which option most people would choose.

  18. I have to ask. Whats the difference between a straight man who goes out ‘on the pull’ several times a week and refuses to use a condom because it stops his enjoyment and the attitude that its up to the woman to protect herself. Who also refuses to do blood tests because ‘they’d rather not know’. (Shockingly there is a number of people like this.) Anyway, between that and a gay couple who don’t sleep around, have never nor will ever put themselves at risk? There are plenty of similar gay people who don’t put themselves at risk. Why should they be denied. Having a rare blood group I think I rather know if I needed it it was there.

  19. Tim Hopkins 5 Jan 2010, 3:09pm

    RobN – you’re right that the paramount considerations are the safety and availability of blood supplies – and EU and UK law says exactly that. But both safety and availability matter. The blood services have to minimise the TOTAL risks to patients, including the risk of the right blood not being available when a patient needs it.

    Given that there is a shortage of blood, especially some types of blood, it is not as simple as trying to minimise any risk of an HIV-positive person giving blood by excluding large groups of people. Especially if the exclusion criteria are so broad-brush that they don’t accurately identify the people at significant risk of blood borne viruses (as is the case now). Exclusion criteria should be as accurate as is possible to apply through questionnaires at transfusion centres.

    It’s a complex calculation to balance these risks.

    Also, the fact appears to be that in some other European countries where the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men was removed, the amount of HIV in blood supplies went down. The UK blood services must look into why that was, because the same thing could happen here, and if they miss that, because they didn’t look into it, that could cost lives.

  20. Simon Murphy 5 Jan 2010, 5:04pm

    I have no problem with the gay blood ban so long as double standards are not applied.

    If gay men are banned for life from donating blood then it should be the case that anyone who has ever had sex with a sub-Saharan African is also banned. That is NOT the case however despite sub-Saharan Africans being MORE likely than gay men to be positive.

    I don’t like the double standard applied to gay men though.

  21. Pumpkin Pie 5 Jan 2010, 7:19pm

    I don’t get this ban at all. Why should gay men who only have protected sex be banned? Sure, they could lie about it, but couldn’t they just lie about being gay in the first place? It’s not like anyone checks. That’s why I find it ridiculous.

    I only ever have safe sex. If there’s ever a blood drive near me, I’m going to lie about my sexuality and donate, because I want to help people. Forget the rules: this is the moral thing to do, and any gay/bi man who practices only safe sex should do the same.

  22. Pumpkin Pie: “Why should gay men who only have protected sex be banned?… …I only ever have safe sex.”

    Because I know of at least one person who always wore a condom, and he still contracted HIV through oral sex. The only safe sex is having a wank on your own in a lead-lined room. The term is ‘safER sex’ nothing or nobody is infallible. (Which also applies to screening blood)

  23. RobN – for someone on a gay news site you are very homophobic
    blood tests should be about the individual

  24. Chester: They are blood donations, not tests, and what about the individual who has no say in who’s blood they receive?

    Like I said, this is not homophobia, it’s just practical steps to reduce risk. People like you should get over their self-centred persecution complexes and recognise that there are other people in society beyond their own little inward-looking LGBT clique.

  25. Oh, and incidentally, I know it’s not UK, but one can draw parallels:

    HIV rates are TEN times higher in gay men than straights, in a counties already ravaged by the disease.

    Oh, I’m sorry, am I being homophobic again? Or maybe Pink News should only publish news that puts us in a good light?

  26. Mihangel apYrs 6 Jan 2010, 8:43am

    RobN – the article states that there are reasons why: the fact that being gay in Africa isn’t a good move, and thus they are reluctant to seek advice and treatment…

  27. Chester:- Typical comment, if someone doesn’t conform to the gay point of view then they are homophobic. It’s called a debate and an opinion. You may not agree with it but that doesn’t make it homophobic to disagree with you. RobN makes valid points, I may not agree with them but would prefer it to a bunch of one opinion robots.

  28. In New Zealand, you cannot give blood if you have lived in the United Kingdom, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative 6 months or more. That’s because of the risk of CJ disease (mad cow). Does that exclusion apply in England or not? MSM can’t give blood in NZ if they have had oral or anal sex with a man in the last five years. If there wasn’t a double standard, that would apply to anyone who had receptive anal sex, male or female. Some gay friends say they feel safer that blood donations are as secure as they can be because they all know supposedly monogamous pairings where one or both partners cheated, and not always safely. In a fair world, donation criteria wouldn’t be based on expecting people to cheat, but then others here are encouraging people to lie about their status just for the sake of giving blood. Maybe everyone should bank their own blood for emergency use and then we wouldn’t need so many donations.

  29. I’m slightly confused by this story – I thought blood was one of 4 types and that as long as you had the same blood type then a transfusion would be fine. Does this suggest that blood stocks were so low they had to canvass relatives and colleagues to find a match – that seems very surprising to me, and might point at a bigger crisis in blood stocks.

    Or perhaps there has been some other confusion – maybe they were looking for a donation of bone marrow and were trying to find a match using a blood sample? Gay men are allowed to be added to the bone marrow register.

    Although this story again raises the important question of whether it is still appropriate to have a blanket ban on blood donation, I’m not sure that’s the real story of what hapenned here.

  30. Mihangel apYrs: “The article states that there are reasons why: the fact that being gay in Africa isn’t a good move, and thus they are reluctant to seek advice and treatment…”

    Quote: “Social and political attitudes to homosexuality, along with poor access to treatment and testing, were contributing to the higher rates.”

    The key word there is contributing – That means they exacerbate an already existent situation. Don’t stretch credulity just to fit your argument.

  31. Mihangel apYrs 6 Jan 2010, 4:05pm

    RobN: there are no figures produced merely a qualitative assessment that doesn’t quantify the affects (eg education and the knowledge that barebacking is dangerous, accessability of condoms, etc)

    Unless we have figures we’re guessing, and my guess is as valid as yiours

  32. Mihangel: Yes, your guess may be as good as mine, but I’m not the one biased towards trying to make gay men look like choirboys.

  33. Mihangel apYrs 6 Jan 2010, 6:57pm

    but RobN, you are someone with a dystopic view of the gay “community”

  34. How can one have a view on something that doesn’t exist? Oh yeah, I forgot, go ask a Christian.

    You show me ANY stats that demonstrate that gay men are proportionally equal or less likely to have HIV than str8’s, and I will eat my cannula.

  35. Robert, ex pat Brit 6 Jan 2010, 8:17pm

    What about all the promiscuous straights who far outnumber us per capita? Why aren’t they barred? Are they asked the same questions regarding their sexual partners? This is nothing more than homophobia and bigotry. If more straights were succumbing to HIV in the UK, would that mean that all straights should be barred? Its an absurd law and shoule be lifted immediately.

    Well done Sweden on this and marriage equality! You put the UK and others to shame.

    RobN, FYI, HIV statistics in Africa report that straights have a higher rate of infection than gays. Don’t forget, Ratzinger stated that condoms doni’t prevent HIV in Africa.

  36. Mihangel apYrs 7 Jan 2010, 8:36am

    I deliberately put “community” in quotes as I’m aware of the fragmented nature of the “gay lifestyle”. But gay men, lesbians and bisexual people do have community of interests (partner rights and inheritance, employment protection to name two), along with the common human right of being treated with a fundamental degree of fairness. You have aired your views on gay men quite clearly – you don’t appear to like them on the whole.

    The point about straight and gay infection rates have been made by another contributor, but while gay sex is still something not explored properly in education young gay men will be educated by their partners, who will not necessarily have their best interests at heart.

  37. ignoring the subject of the article for a moment, can I point out that this piece has no less than 3 typos/errors in it:

    “he was prevented from donating under rules which bar men who have had with another man from giving blood.” had what? dinner? sex? a conversation?

    “Bentley, a 21-year-old student, told the Herald he had tried to give blood aged 17 but was told by a nurse he could not.” the blood was age 17? so he stored it when he was 4?
    and my favorite:
    “People who have injected drugs, prostitutes and those who have ever had syphilis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C are also excluded.”
    how does one inject a prostitute anyway? I mean, I would think they wouldn’t fit in the needle.

  38. Robert, ex-Brit: “What about all the promiscuous straights who far outnumber us per capita? Why aren’t they barred?”

    The word you missed out is “proportionally”. If you work on a percentage basis, there is a far higher rate of infection amongst gays than straights in the UK. FACT.

    And yes, they can be as promiscuous, but the infection rate is not as high because straights don’t practice anal sex anywhere near as much, which has a far higher chance of transmissiblity.

    You are acting like a selfish, spoilt brat, like so many on here, without looking at the bigger picture.

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