Even though the FDA announced this week that homosexuals may give blood, overturning a 30-year-old blanket ban, the government will still not let sexually active homosexuals donate. Any man who identifies as homosexual may only give blood if he stipulates he has not had sexual contact with another man in the previous 12 months.
This brings the U.S. into line with other western countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia ,and New Zealand, that also insist on a 12-month waiting period.
The concern for policy makers and also those who need blood transfusions is the general health issues experienced by men who have sex with men. While homosexual men make up less than 2% of the U.S. population, they still represent 63% of those newly infected with HIV, according to a recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control. Homosexual men represent 52% of all HIV cases.
According to the report, “Most gay and bisexual men acquire HIV through anal sex, which is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.”
Concerns about tainting the blood supply are not unfounded. It is reported that 416,730 homosexuals are known to be living with the HIV virus. This does not include those living with the virus who do not know it.
This would mean that at least one in four homosexuals living in the United States are now infected with the potentially deadly disease. This percentage is derived from census data that shows 115 million adult males in the U.S., and CDC estimates that 1.6% of the adult population are homosexual.
While the disease can be controlled by taking massive and expensive amounts of retroviral drugs, it does not mean the disease cannot be spread either through the typical homosexual act of anal sex or through blood donation.
Concerns center not just on HIV but other deadly diseases contracted through gay sex, including Hepatitis B and C.
Homosexuals are not satisfied with the 12 month waiting period. “It is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship can’t give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite sex partners in the last year can,” said Jared Polis, a Democratic congressman and co-chairman of the Congressional homosexual caucus.
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