24 votes

Denmark to finally allow gay and bisexual men to give blood – but only after four month abstinence period

9 comments

  1. [2]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    This archaic policy is one of the reasons I just don't bother to donate anymore. 99% of the time I show up male presenting they ask if I've had sex with males and deny me outright. It's a good...

    This archaic policy is one of the reasons I just don't bother to donate anymore. 99% of the time I show up male presenting they ask if I've had sex with males and deny me outright. It's a good thing there aren't any real blood shortages often where I live and that so many other people donate.

    13 votes
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      Same here. I'd love to help out and contribute to some positive aspect of humanity, but the perceived treatment I've received when questioned about my sexuality and history make me feel...

      Same here. I'd love to help out and contribute to some positive aspect of humanity, but the perceived treatment I've received when questioned about my sexuality and history make me feel uncomfortably slighted.

      Cool. I'll go do better things with my time then.

      7 votes
  2. [7]
    HoolaBoola
    Link
    Is there really any scientific basis to make it harder for gay men to donate? I mean, the only concern I could think of would be that some diseases are transmitted easier through anal sex, but...

    Is there really any scientific basis to make it harder for gay men to donate? I mean, the only concern I could think of would be that some diseases are transmitted easier through anal sex, but that also applies to anal sex with hetero couples, right? Somehow I've never seen a question to women whether they've taken it in the butt.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This data is from the US, not Denmark, but it gives an answer to your question. In 2018, male-male sexual contact accounted for the transmission of HIV to roughly 25,000 people. Heterosexual...

      This data is from the US, not Denmark, but it gives an answer to your question.

      In 2018, male-male sexual contact accounted for the transmission of HIV to roughly 25,000 people. Heterosexual contact accounted for less than 3,000. The disparity of these numbers is even more pronounced when you consider that the broader population sizes are not equal, and there are far more people engaging in heterosexual contact than male-male sexual contact.

      If you look at the cumulative data for stage 3 classifications (AIDS), you can see that male-male sexual contact accounts for ~618,000 cases, while heterosexual contact accounts for ~94,000.

      This data breaks my heart. As a gay man who grew up in the shadow of AIDS, I'm devastated to see that it is continuing to ravage our community.

      I get why the ban is bad optics, and I will admit that it stings a little personally. I have never donated blood, but I would love to do so and am the kind of person would do so regularly. I think it's an amazing, wonderful way of helping others.

      But I also get why the ban happened in the first place. Back in the 80s, HIV got into our national blood supply. A little-known or discussed fact about AIDS was that hemophiliacs were also devastated by the disease, because HIV made it into their transfusions before before we fully understood what was going on with it or how to stop its spread.

      The decision to eliminate high-risk groups was based on a significant safety concern and a broad statistical pragmatism that doesn't scale well to individual experience. As such, I acknowledge that I am in a demographic with demonstrably higher transmission rates of HIV. Though I know my status is negative and will continue to be so, the people taking my blood can't necessarily trust that. Statistically, the chance that I could infect the blood supply (or, now that detection is better, cause whole pools of donations to have to be discarded) is significantly higher than most other people. It is likely more worthwhile for them to simply prevent me and people like me from entering the pool than it is for them to manage the risk of including us.

      I'm not saying it's right -- only that I get why they do it. I would love for blood donation to take a more nuanced stance on the issue, however. Am I really still high-risk if me and my husband have been HIV-negative and mutually monogamous for nearly a decade now?

      12 votes
      1. HoolaBoola
        Link Parent
        Thanks for the response. Now I can see the reasoning behind the rulings, even though I still don't agree with it.

        Thanks for the response. Now I can see the reasoning behind the rulings, even though I still don't agree with it.

        3 votes
      2. patience_limited
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        My experience suggests that any nuance at all would be welcome. Counting on the knowledge and honesty of every potential donor who's ever engaged in intercourse to detect contact with dangerous...

        My experience suggests that any nuance at all would be welcome.

        Counting on the knowledge and honesty of every potential donor who's ever engaged in intercourse to detect contact with dangerous buttseks [/s] seems both unduly paranoid and in the same class of risk analysis as security-screening "Arab-looking" people while waving through everyone else.

        3 votes
    2. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      U.S. woman, and I was turned down for blood donation last year after checking the box admitting to ever having sex with gay or bisexual men. Considering how many gay or bisexual men still aren't...

      U.S. woman, and I was turned down for blood donation last year after checking the box admitting to ever having sex with gay or bisexual men.

      Considering how many gay or bisexual men still aren't out, this seems like a ludicrous restriction on top of the foolishness of prohibiting donations from acknowledged gay/bisexual men.

      11 votes
    3. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      It's more a combination of capitalism and HIV testing being historically expensive. One older approach to cut on costs used to be taking a very small volume from hundreds to thousands of blood...

      It's more a combination of capitalism and HIV testing being historically expensive. One older approach to cut on costs used to be taking a very small volume from hundreds to thousands of blood donations and then testing that for HIV. While the overall rate of HIV is fairly low, when you're pooling like that the chances that at least 1 sample would have HIV goes up quite a bit.

      4 votes