I finally found a blood drive, a couple weeks after the mad T-mag rush to donate. I’m assuming you all got asked the same questions, like about if you have AIDS or used to live in malarial countries or accept drugs in exchange for sex. Something occured to me as I looked at all the criteria for not being allowed to donate.
For obvious reasons, for some conditions you can never donate blood again. For example, if you test positive for HIV, you can’t donate your blood, because you could give it to a blood recipient. For other conditions, you aren’t allowed to donate for a period of time. A few years ago I spent time in a malarial country in Africa, and I wasn’t allowed to donate for a year after I returned. Also, rape victims have to wait a year after their assault to donate. My understanding is that it can take as long as 6 months after exposure for HIV and other diseases to show up in a blood test. Therefore, if someone has risk factors for infection that may not show up in a blood test, they cannot donate until enough time elapses that it would show up.
However, one of the rules was that men who have had sexual contact with another man since 1977 may not donate, no matter how long ago it was. This category does not apply to me, but it really made me think, and it seems overly strict to me. Suppose some guy got a BJ from another guy once in 1978, and never did homosexual activity since then. Does it make sense saying this guy can NEVER donate blood? Wouldn’t it make more sense to not let someone donate blood if they have had male-male sex in the past 12 months, because by then any STD would show up when the blood is tested?
I’m not big on political correctness, and I wouldn’t want to risk contaminating the blood supply in order to not hurt people’s feelings. It just seems to me excessive that you can’t donate if you had man-man sex once since 1977, whereas for things like sniffing cocaine, being raped, and travelling in malarial regions you are only stopped from donating for one year. It makes me wonder if maybe they’re going beyond the requirements for safety and letting their feelings about homosexuals influence their rules.