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Not weight-loss related: Donating Blood

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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:26 pm

Do they still discriminate against gay men? That's something that's always bothered me and it's stopped me from donating in the past. They screen all blood for HIV anyway and don't ask heterosexual people about risky sexual practices so why continue to imply that gay men alone are somehow unclean?

I really want to donate blood, but I'm ethically opposed to supporting blatant discrimination (most of my male friends are gay). A friend told me that a guy in Tasmania was launching a legal case to challenge their position. I'm going to contact them to find out if anything has changed.
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Postby electrongirl » Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:04 pm

I understand your stance on them being discriminative towards gay men, however its not them your actually helping, they just collect the blood.

Think about all the people you would be helping that need that blood!!
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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:44 pm

Yeah, I know. But I also think of all the extra blood they could be receiving if they ended their ban on gay men. It seems a bit hypocritical of them to cry how low they are on blood when they are discriminating against so many potential donors.

I've contacted Australian Red Cross to find out their current stance. If they tell me that the discrimination is still in place I'll contact the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby to find out their views on the matter. If they're fine with me donating I'll do it, even though I still have ethical reservations about the way Australian Red Cross handles this!
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Postby Karma » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:28 pm

I think it could be handled better yes, but I think its more of the risk factor. They don't take people who could have been exposed to a blood disease of any kind - gay or straight. I don't like the fact that they do have the presumption that all gay men might have diseases, but I think its better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a product that can save peoples lives.

I wish there was a way where both aspects can be satisfied though... mind you, do they flat out refuse if a man says he's gay? Because I know alot of the times the questions are just to clarify... I answer 'yes' to quite a few ('are you on medication?' 'Have you been unwell?" "Have you been advised against donating blood?" etc) and they still let me through once they know the circumstances.
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Postby Karma » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:31 pm

Oh, and they do ask heterosexual people about their sexual practices, there's a whole section on it XD The one that bothers me is the "In the past 12 months, have you had censored with a man who you think may be bisexual?" I don't think its for me to say who I 'think' is bisexual... I know alot of guys who I thought at first were gay but turned out not to be. But for the record, I didn't sleep with them
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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:33 pm

Oh good, I'm glad they ask heterosexuals about risky sexual activity. Apparently in some European countries that's all they base it on, not on sexuality itself. I haven't heard back from Red Cross or the VGLRL so I'm unsure whether the ban is on all gay men, or just men who have had a censored with another man in the last year, or if they have additional criteria.

I understand that certain sexual acts have a greater chance of transmitting HIV, and that many gay men fit into that category. But it can't be that much of an additional risk given that gay men are still allowed to be organ donors and sperm donors!
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Postby soon2bayummymummy » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:09 pm

so what happens if someone says there not gay but u take one look and u know there lying? or even if they dont look gay but are gay. i think that its a disgrace to stop gay people from donating,
i dont care if anyone thinks its better not to take a chance as thats alot of blood they could be getting from gay people and any friends/family standing by them. but on the other point yep i should really get in there and donate, how long does it take? i hate needles and blood.
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Postby electrongirl » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:03 pm

I thought they tested the blood before they use it anyway?
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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:47 am

electrongirl wrote:I thought they tested the blood before they use it anyway?


They do, but there is about a three month period before HIV can be detected after infection (I think). That's why they make you wait a year after any activities that could risk infection (like tattoos) before you can donate.

Not sure how they deal with this with organ donation. I can't recall having to answer any questions about tattoos or risky sexual activity when I signed up to be an organ donor. And you'd think if they can't detect HIV immediately after infection with blood donation they'd have the same problem with organs as well.
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Postby grugwashere » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:44 pm

i didnt grow up with my parents, i grew up with my sister and her husband as guardians and when i went to donate blood when i turned sixteen my guardians came with me to sign consent and they wouldnt allow that... it can only be a parent i questioned them and asked what if my parents were dead and they said it still wouldnt matter they were very rude about it too... they do need alot of blood... but it seems like alot of hoop jumping just to donate
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Postby Jane85 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:13 pm

As it happens, a new bloodbank has just opened around the corner from my work, gave them a buzz today and booked in next wed :)
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Postby electrongirl » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:01 pm

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I did it!!

It was really good! I did get a little light headed right at the end so they stopped it right at 420ml. I was really worried that they didn't have enough, but they said anything over 400ml is a full donation so YAY!!

The ladies were all really nice and caring.

I have already booked my next one in 12 weeks.

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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:13 pm

Good on you!

I got a reply from Red Cross about my concerns. It was a very polite email with a PDF attachment explaining why they have their current policies. I got an email back from VGLRL too, but it didn't outline any opinion on this topic so I figure they're not going to be offended by my donating blood.

So I'm booked in to donate on January 31st. I'm a bit nervous since I nearly fainted during a blood test once (it was the only time it's happened and a bit disconcerting given I have no phobia about needles or blood). Here's hoping it all goes well!
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Postby electrongirl » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:27 pm

just make sure you drink plenty of fluids before hand and eat a good meal.

I am so proud of myself for doing it! Hubby was watching and he almost fainted when she put the needle in and the blood starting flowing down the tube, but I love that kind of thing and was watching it all!
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Postby EvilWombatQueen » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:35 pm

Thanks for the tip! I normally just have a protein shake for lunch, and I'm booked in at 1pm, so I'll make sure to adjust my plans for that day.

I just hope I'm as brave as you were when they stick the needle in! :D
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