July 8th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

As blood donations decline, U.S. ban on gay donors is examined

By Jen Christensen, CNN

(CNN) - The American Red Cross says power outages created by recent storms in the East and Midwest cut blood donations, which were already low this summer. In June there was a nationwide shortfall, with donations down more than 10% across the country.

"We are asking people to please call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit us at redcrossblood.org to find a way to donate if they can," said Stephanie Millian, Red Cross director of biomedical communications. "We need people's help."

One group that would like to help, but legally can't, may be moving one step closer to eligibility. Since the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic decimated their community, gay men - or MSMs (men who have sex with men) as they are called by federal agencies –– have not been allowed to donate blood. In June, a group of 64 U.S. legislators led by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services encouraging it to move forward with a study that may lead to the end of the decades-old ban.

"We remain concerned that a blanket deferral of MSM for any length of time both perpetuates the unwarranted discrimination against the bisexual and gay community and prevents healthy men from donating blood without a definitive finding of added benefit to the safety of the blood supply," the letter said.

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Filed under: Health • History • How we live • Sexual orientation
soundoff (430 Responses)
  1. John

    Poll Question: Just curious -- Would you rather die or receive a blood transfusion with HIV positive blood? (Keeping in mind being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence, as you can live a full life with medication) Since there is a blood shortage, and all blood is tested, and the likelihood of getting HIV positive blood is slim to none?

    December 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blood Cancer Treatment

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to offer one thing again and aid others like you aided me.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. ii2bcnii

    why not just lie? I mean its not like they have a gay registry that they cross check.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I go back and forth with that... As I sit here in Aurora, CO, a 2 minute walk away from the theatre, I'm surrounded by people I've worked with for over 15 years. Everyone I know is safe...but I work with many who have been directly touched by this violence.

      I was asked to donate blood, but when I brought this issue to their attention, they were shocked to learn that its illegal for me to give blood. I've never hid who I am, and never will.

      The most interesting part of that conversation was that the person asking me to donate wasn't their suggestion that I lie about who I am...but that they said that they understand and support me...and that they're more angry at the people that can and wont.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. nama1420

    Does anyone know...If a person has had Lyme disease can they donate?

    July 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRE

      Yes you may as long as you have been without a blood positive test for 6 months or more

      July 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Raven

        They don't even test for it at all.

        July 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prettygal

      It is ridiculous they are considering this. Gay people should never, NEVER be allowed anywhere a blood bank. Think of the thousands of innocents who would be in danger if even one AIDS tainted blood donation got in.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • iReadTheBible

        Apparently you dont think that "normal" people can get AIDS.

        You also believe they dont test for it in the blood.

        July 22, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      The Red Cross doesn't even test for Lyme disease to start with.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sarah

    I used to donate blood frequently, as I have a very rare blood type and the Red Cross constantly called asking for it. Then I took a trip to the United Kingdom circa 1999. Does anyone remember Mad Cow Disease? Well, when I came back I was informed that I was no longer able to donate blood because I may have come into contact with it. Since I have been a vegan since I was 12, I kind of doubted it. Nevertheless, I went about my business. Unfortunately the Red Cross refused to remove me from their list and would call several times a week asking for more blood. If I had only known I could have just told them I was a lesbian to get them to leave me alone. Instead, after explaining why I couldn't donate blood to about 15 different callers, I snapped and screamed at some poor girl.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mona

      I'm with you on that Sarah! I have a ridiculously high platlette count and have given 25 GALLONS over the years. Then they dcided that since I was stationed in Germany back in the early 1980s, I am no longer able to give. I just grit my teath and utter obscenities when I hear the frantic pleas for donors.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Erik

    How could anyone be so irresponsible as to suggest that donated blood be accepted from gays?

    July 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tim

    My friends and I will not be donating blood to the red cross...ever...I remember the pain and humiliation the one and only time that I tried. Thanks for the discrimination and find someone else you desperate bigots

    July 18, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      WOW just WOW, people trying to keep other people from dying makes them a bigot.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jodey

    Good luck getting gay men to donate blood. Our government has discriminated against them for decades with no consideration for an individual's donor's behavior, only his orientation, –thus relegating gay men to second-class status. Don't expect gay men to line up, America, now that we're desperate, but it"ll be great if they do.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • kenz61

      Not all of us gays are infected. And you do realize that straight people can get HIV/AIDS just the same right?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      @Kenz. of course not, but the percentage is like 500% higher, why would people want to take the chance?

      July 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • wewerethesame

        500%? Where is your evidence of that? It's true that gays represent about 61% of new HIV infections, but the other 49%? All straights. Not much of a difference, is there? And guess what? It is all tested, all ensured to be 100% clean. It doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, Catholic, atheist, Mexican, Chinese. It will be tested and only used if shown to be free of infection. The fact that you think it isn't tested for HIV/AIDS is just baffling. If that were the case, those receiving donations would be getting it all the time from the straights who donate without knowing they are infected.

        August 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Erik

    Anyone with a functioning brain knows that the ban should remain in force.

    July 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      I'd much rather have a blood transfusion from a gay person that a closeted, down low, supposedly straight guy that lies when they donate. Think about that.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    This is a life or death issue and not time for political correctness. If a particular group has a significantly higher chance of having HIV, that group should be screened out. Far too many people have been killed by their blood transfusions due to contraction of HIV.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Stacey

      Please provide a citation to your claim that people have died after recieving HIV positive blood from gay men. Oh wait, you can't because that's bogus! ANY blood donor can have a communicable disease they're unaware of. That's why they test every single donor's blood before using it for a transfusion. The ban on gay men donating blood was a knee-jerk reaction that was implemented in the wake of the HIV panic in the 1980s, before we even knew how HIV was transmitted. The ban only serves to perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
      • Marion

        The one that is well known Elizabeth Glaser wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser,got blood giving birth to firsr child that was also infected as the second son, Mrs Glaser and the her first son died with AIDS.
        And many more that did not go public.
        Women giving birth and cancer patients are the ones more affected if the ban is lifted to please a powerful political group that could care less about others.

        July 14, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
      • watkinsrc

        When the world first learned of HIV, there was a lot of panic. Much of it at the time was due to a lack of knowledge of the disease and naturally so, WE didn't know anything about the disease. While it may now seam like a knee-jerk reaction, at the time it was a prudent thing to do because the disease at the time was more prevelant in the gay community or that's what people believed. Hindsight is always 20/20. While people understand more about the disease, doesn't mean that we should all of sudden supportive of this effort. More studies and testing needs to be done because HIV can be transmitted by tainted blood, not always detected until a few years after the fact, and more importantly, people need to reassured that they won't catch a disease from receiving blood. Public confindence is key and I don't believe that we're there yet. Lifting the ban should be about sterotypying a certain group but all about public safety.

        July 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • watkinsrc

        Last sentence: Should NOT be about stereotyping is what I meant to say.

        July 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Prettygal

        You may be responsible, but there are callous, mentally ill AIDS patients who would like to put others in harms way. There have even been cases in the news like this.

        July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      Single women are at the highest likelihood of getting HIV, not gay men. So check your facts.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      You do all realize that the Red Cross tests all samples for the HIV Virus. So I am not sure what the big deal is. I would really like to see how many pints of blood that are donated do get rejected due to this test.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    First one in line.....KERRY......

    July 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. buddee

    It's like coconuts who take meds and get normal again and then decide they don't need to take meds.

    The blood supply is now free of AIDS so we can let gay people donate again.

    Ryan White was murdered by an HIV infected person.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Want Ro make sure this sticks to you, "buddee"...

      Ryan White was not murdered. You’re mis-guided if you follow that train of thought. Now Matthew Sheppard…he was murdered. Murdered by uneducated, frightened and sad, sorry souls who would rather kill and destroy than contribute to human society. Sound like people you know “buddee”? My guess is yes.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kmcg

    Straight people carry HIV just like gay people.

    Blood should be screened for disease, as it is. Current *behavioral* screening questions that already exist, such as "have you had unprotected s*x in the last year with a new partner" "have you had a tattoo in the last year" etc. should continue. They help weed out dangerous behaviors, regardless of s*xual orientation.

    Asking private and discriminatory questions about who you love or are attracted to mean nothing for disease prevention. I know plenty of straight people who are less safe than some gay people.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Another religious drone.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Beachy

    You are right on target Amanda!! I agree with you 100%

    July 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Luna

    Thank you. Voice of reason.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  16. NoWonder

    No wonder this country is not getting anywhere: it is still full of ignorant bigots and racists. I guess it means nothing that a group of 64 (SIXTY-FOUR!) highly educated U.S. legislators that you elected have come to the conclusion, with the help of medical experts (which none of you appear to be), that this ban is discriminatory, offensive, and ultimately costing lives that could be saved. If life is about choices, congratulations to the 64 for choosing not to be as ignorant as so many of you.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • darlene anne

      The reason gay men can not give blood is because they are a high risk for aids...along with IV drug users. Hiv is transmitted through blood to blood contact. Gay men and hiv users are a high risk. Its not about being ignorant. Its about keeping the blood supply safe!

      July 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Andrew

        I'm going to illustrate why it doesn't matter if they're a higher risk group: since all blood gets tested prior to being added to the inventory, the worst that would happen is wasted labour and materials. Since there are free clinics everywhere, most people with a brain would rather go there, as they would lose less blood finding out if they are HIV positive.

        So ultimately, allowing gays to donate will not hurt – it will help. I am a blood donor, coming up on my 25th donation.

        July 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jackson

    Please accept buckets of ape blood.

    HIV was isolated in monkeys before it was isolated in humans.

    Good luck to you. I, for one, won't cry at your funeral.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  18. Marcia

    If there are people considering lifting the ban on gay men donating blood should we not also consider allowing foreign nationals being permitted to give blood? I immigrated to the United States from Ireland fourteen years ago and have never been allowed to donate blood because of concerns about possible exposure to meat products contaminated with BSE. I

    July 10, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • bill smith

      get yourself a hugely powerful well monied lobby ........and check back with us later...........

      July 16, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  19. Michael

    I for one do not have a issue with anyone donating blood, good for them. What I have an issue with is assuring that the donated blood is screened and tested properly. If the blood banks do not perform up to CDC standards in screening of the donated blood they should be shutdown and all blood destroyed until they can follow the standards set fourth. We do not need to handle this like the fiasco last year with the contaminated chicken or what ever it was due to processes and procedures not being followed so they created more laws, WE DO NOT NEED MORE LAWS, WE NEED WHAT IS IN PLACE TO BE FOLLOWED.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • ImpishLisa

      I used to donate plasma. People talk in the waiting room. Being recently released from prison should exclude you. Many lied. They talked about lying. *shrugs* just test it well. I don't know how fast exposed people show the markers, though. I guess I'd just hope they can catch the nasty blood. and I agree. many people, even straight men with aids, purposefully want to condemn others to death.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  20. Infidel

    The ban must be kept. Our healthy blood supply must NOT be contaminated!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • extinction

      Correct, customers do not have a choice of blood in the ambulance or ER. So keep the danger screened out.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Steve W

    Why bother discussing this here? If you don't have any scientific data, you don't have any useful answer to this scientific question.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  22. flatpicker01

    Are comments show your intelligence. Are you denying the FACT that gay men caused the disease to become widespread and kill so many ?

    July 10, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • wewerethesame

      That is not a FACT, that is your uneducated OPINION. Answer me this: if it's the gays' fault, how did all the straights get it?

      August 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  23. sam stone

    Wow, what insight

    July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  24. Doug

    Let them donate blood. Just mark it as coming from MSMS. Then give the patient needing blood the choice of accepting it if it is the only kind available. Key is giving the patient the "choice". Some may prefer recieve the MSMS blood to dying and it may save lives. But to say "let's have no choice for a patient but to die" because there is no blood available is dumb and "deadly bigoted". Or is "common sense" no longer so "common"?

    July 10, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Common sense has been been on the decline for a long time, perhaps sinse just before the Carter administraion. It has a terminal illness as is soon to expire totally... No autopsy will be performed.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      You take it, we don't want it.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  25. Guest123

    Too many Medical Errors is being made on a daily basis, we can't take the risk of infecting people with screening made by people who makes errors. Gay people should not be allowed of giving blood.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  26. grand

    mortis, you obviously have an agenda. Sorry but won't work here!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      Right – my agenda is to educate. Sorry about that. I just find it disheartening to see so many ignorant posts. It's like everyone is willfully ignoring facts. And it's not even that hard to find accurate information, so I don't know what it is.

      Can you help, by letting me know what drives YOU to ignore it?

      July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
      • bill smith

        how come whenever someone disagrees with the libs.....they all say its "ignorance".....is it not possible that people could disagree with you and NOT be ignorant....... or are your words so golden as to not make that possible?............

        July 16, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  27. m0rtis

    *facepalm* I don't even know where to start....

    July 10, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  28. K

    The CDC says that gays contract HIV at a rate of 44-89 times that of other men.

    Falso negatives depend on the accuracy of the lab test, in addition to the rate of HIV in the donor poplation.

    If nobody is dyiing due to blood shortages, it sounds like there is no good reason to change the policy. Do what saves lthe most lives. And drop this nonsense about "blanket discrimination". Nobody has a right to give blood.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  29. flatpicker01

    If they lie during the screening and are caught giving bad blood, they should be prosecuted!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  30. Katie

    Questions are asked during the screening process.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  31. Dan G.

    Oh, I forgot they would still have time for "Black in America" and other racist oriented stories.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Misunderstood

      Dan, you forgot anti business stories.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  32. Publius

    Let's not pretend AIDS is no longer present. Let's not pretend that the gay community has a higher rate of testing positive in HIV/AIDS. Let's not pretend that the testing/screening of the blood is 100% accurate. At the present time, there is no need to accept blood from actively gay men. Patients ought not have additional worries going into surgery or emergency care. This is more about the compassion for the injured patient than about the donor. If those donors would stand back and think about how selfish they are being, they would never volunteer to donate understanding the fear and risk they are causing the greater population.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  33. su3385

    So will just forget about the people who died becasue they delveloped HIV/Aids from tainted blood that passed screening because the infection was so new. It's time to stop pandering to the exceptions – this is supposed to be a democracy – majority rules!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan G.

      Get your facts straight! Everything said was true and any new varients or new diseases wouldn't be detected.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      That's garbage Dan - HIV would still have the same genetic markers and would be picked up by the same NAT test. If you're expanding your argument to "any disease", then no blood should be donated because ANYONE could have ANY "new/pop-up" disease.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Publius

      No screening is 100% accurate. None. The risk factor increases when you introduce blood from a population of actively gay men into the pool. That risk can be small, but it increases without excluding certain populations.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      Publius: Both statements are true, but what is the risk FACTOR? You're supporting a ban that, if overturned, could increase the blood donation pool to much larger versus the very small risk associated with screening that "might" miss the genetic marker for HIV. If that kind of logic were followed, we'd still be in the dark ages (and certainly no transportation, internet, or mass-produced/distributed food).

      July 10, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      In addition Publius, the ban was put in place before the ability to test blood effectively, so at the time it WAS beneficial to minimize the possibility of tainted blood being used. That was 30 years ago, and the ban no longer serves a useful purpose, except to discriminate and perpetuate unfounded bigotry.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      Oh, how woefully ignorant. America is not a democracy, and majority does not rule.

      America is a "Republic", in which the rights of the minority are protected from the tyranny of the majority.

      Go back to school, you obviously need *way* more education.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
      • amanda

        EXACTLY. If I hear one more moron say that the USA is a democracy I'm going to lose it. A democratic republic was put in place because the founding fathers knew that the majority of people in a society are stupid, uneducated,emotional and generally incompetent.

        That is why the majority isn't supposed to rule, you are STUPID.

        July 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  34. LaLA

    Philip, I can sympathize with you and perhaps the blood given to certain people would be ok. Go look at a child that needs the blood for a Bone marrow trnansplant. Do you think that is a good recepient? I do not. How about someone with an immune defecieny that cannot fight off ANYTHING? = bad recepient. THOSE individuals count on a 100% safe blood product. (and with it being a blood product, it is better to error on the side of caution). The standard joke among people that USE these proucts is, "it's a human blood product. What could go wrong with that?" It's really not a joke. Imagine a person on their death bad (as I'm sure you can) with no immune system receiving blood that is tainted.....They will most probably not survive long....and even with the current screening processes, tainted blood still gets thru. I kow because I've lost people to that exact scenario. IMHO, screening needs ot be better or put more restrictions in place.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      I'm sorry LaLA - you're using a lot of words, but not making a lot of sense. Blood is screened, period. IF 1 in 10,000 actually DID catch something for whatever reason, that's still 10,000 that survived (and ONE that has a treatable, manageable disease - that one person has a better chance of getting murdered or killed some other way than by that disease). By your logic, since so many people die in car accidents, cars should be banned.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  35. Wally

    As long as they keep the ban on Conservative blood...

    July 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  36. joseph ryder

    CHOICE is something we are handed in life even if not your own, live with until someday you will find who's in CHARGE?
    I'm not in favor of Gays and Lesbians but they are forced on us, like it or not. We all get diversity when we elect some I promise YOU's, there choice live with it.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      whoa... what?

      July 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • marabou22

      Do you double check the things you write before you post? this was giberish.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • MaryInBoise

      Say what now?

      July 10, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Lesbians can donate blood.

      July 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Wisco30

    Well said Philip, you're a good person.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  38. marabou22

    You're a good man phillip. Proud of you.;

    July 10, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  39. Chris

    I recall a time when people objected to blood if it was from the wrong race.

    I prefer my blood to be the right color (human, red). I'd like the donation agency to screen it for appropriateness based on my blood factors (so it is compatible with my blood type, so it has no diseases).

    And I'd like to thank the donor for the kindness... PERIOD.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Luna

      Perfect. This is how it should be.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      I would rather have blood that doesn't infect me with a disease that will kill me. Your choice leaves a lot to be desired.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  40. KK

    I am stunned that we are still so backward that this law exists. Stunned. Shame on all of you who agree with it.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • LaLA

      I'm sure you have never been near someone that needed a Bone Marrow transplnt or a human blood produc,t for life itself. It's a very scary prospect JUT GETTING BLOOD that has been screened and with current the safety laws in place. It's not a simple thing and to be honest, I think maybe MORE restrictions need to be in place. I've lost people that ahve been given tainted blood. Screening is a way to help give those that are the sickest, the best chance for survival and to NOT cause them any more harm or death/disease. IF IT WERE YOU, I think MOST people would feel differently. It is very easy to pass judgment from the other side of things.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  41. m0rtis

    careful... your stupidity is showing...

    July 10, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  42. O-

    I've tried to donate blood in the past and have been denied because I was born and lived in Europe for five years in the '80s. I'm a universal donor, but unable to do so because I may be carrying a strand of Mad-Cow. I feel that if regulations regarding gay donors are being examined, one should also look at the other out-dated restrictions that exist. 31 years and Mad-Cow free...so far.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Stacey

      The ban on donors from certain European countries comes from the possibility of infection with a prion causing Creutzfeld-Jacob disease in humans (BSE in cattle). The incubation period of CJD can be up to 30 years and there is no reliable blood test to determine if someone is infected. Also, as scary as HIV still is, new anti-retroviral drugs can allow people to live a nearly normal life after infection. CJD has no treatment and kills in less than two years following onset of symptoms.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
      • Alex

        Hiv carriers and full blown AIDS people get also Lymphoma cancer that usually kills, and get, carry and infect with a strain of TB that there is no cure fo. Also they can develop another cancer Karposi sarcoma.
        I work in the medical field and it is not nearly normal lives with the medications, they have terible side effects, ruins the liver. It is very hard living with AIDS.

        July 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  43. m0rtis


    July 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  44. Myke

    So if a straight man sleeps with a woman the same way two gay men would, can the straight man still give blood?

    July 10, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  45. chris

    It's is now a stupid/out dated law. All the blood is tested anyway these days. So a gay guy who has been with the same partner for 30 years is at high risk than a hetro that sleeps around with a different partner each weekend?? Not the case!

    July 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • MaryInBoise

      Now Chris, stop being so logical and stuff.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  46. Me

    Don't they test the blood for HIV before they use it anyhow? I would certainly hope so! Anyone can be HIV positive, so what difference does it make?

    July 10, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  47. adam91

    First of all, ALL blood is TESTED after being drawn and tested. More than ever, HIV is not as prevalent in the Gay community, for those of us who are willing to donate blood it's frustrating that what I do in my bedroom, dictates whether I can give blood to save a life.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  48. brian in DC

    The ban should remain in force. It is amazing that when it comes to living, or eventually dying, common sense trumps PC BS.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • David in Virginia

      Wait, what? The ban should remain in place, and doing so would display common sense?

      July 10, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • marabou22

      common sense to me is if someone does not have aids, they should be allowed to save someones life by giving blood. you are aware that most of the gay population is aids free right?

      July 10, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Wisco30

      Speaking of common sense, please refrain from posting until you find some. Thank you on behalf the rest of the non-crazy people.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  49. Feast of Beast

    How about if straight people just donate more blood? I do. It's no big deal...

    July 10, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  50. Taco2741

    It should remain. The risk of the blood being HIV infected is significantly higher in people who practice that lifestyle. I've read that the practices they do might have been how AIDS first started...

    July 10, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      I read that you're a m0ron. Since I read it, it MUST be true.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Its significantly higher in those that sleep with countless straight people in bars without protection. Than two men who only sleep with each other. Yet one is allowed to donate and the other isn't. Try to think for yourself instead of what the government and religious want you to think.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  51. paul1121

    If you are dieing and need blood right now to save yourself, you'd take anyone's blood.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Taco2741

      Not if it's HIV infected...

      July 10, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Wisco30

        Taco, that's why they screen the blood first, are you mental?

        July 10, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  52. warsteiner

    Yes its dangerous AIDS test before every donation and the test would have to be accurate enough to show AIDS in the system with in an hour. And those test are so expensive that it negates the donation.

    July 10, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Dane Cook

      They test every donation already for aids

      July 10, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Wow, you must be a scientist or something! Brilliant observations!

      July 10, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • bsitz

      So are you saying we should stop accepting blood from donors who are a certain race? Aids runs more rampant in the African American community....

      July 10, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  53. Mike

    To respond to a bunch of things ...

    Yes – the Red Cross does get hurt by this. They don't GIVE blood away for free – they sell it for ~ $90 / pint. They do about 1.9 billion a year by blood sales. Just google their tax returns.

    Gays (I am one) do have a higher % of HIV rates. But the blood is tested so why does it matter? (and it isn't juts tested for antibodies) It matters because it isn't free to collect or test the blood. So you try to collect the best % of the blood you can. This is a business and it was a good decision.

    But it isn't anymore – gays now get tested on their own WAY more than straights. All of my gay friends get tested once or twice a year. So as a population, we're more likely to know if we have HIV or other diseases.

    July 10, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      Thanks for the education, I guess if it is tested anyway it doesnt really make a difference.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  54. jack h

    gays should not be allowed to infect us again in large numbers.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • pbernasc

      unless you are gay, which is most likely the case, u will anyway cause u are too stupid to know what to do to avoid infections ... we know u like goats and pigs .. so, stop complaining

      July 10, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • andyhangley

      I read an article saying that you can become gay if you get blood from a gay person. I am married to a woman and would like to remain this way!

      July 10, 2012 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  55. dakota2000

    Yet another CNN non-article to stir up the trolls.

    CNN staff if you are depending on haters for ad revenue, then its time to get a new job...

    July 10, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  56. Aristocles

    It would be a medical disaster if public safety were to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Nature is not in agreement with the left wing on this matter, although as a "silver lining", lesbian blood is probably a lot safer than MSM blood. That's not bias, that's nature. Either you can deny it and call people who point it out bad names and society can suffer for it, or you can accept it and live with it.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Except that they aren't changing the policy out of political correctness. They are changing it because they need blood.


      July 10, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  57. Steve

    Simple answer, no. Back in the 80's I could see. Nobody knew anything about AIDS except that it killed people and is was spread by blood. Testing for it is was spotty at best, and it took a long time. That's not the case now. Every pint of donated blood is tested for multiple diseases, including AIDS these days before it's put into the blood supply. Technology has made this obsolete and it should be scrapped..

    July 10, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  58. Mike P

    You C A N ' T have my blood – and I hope you D I E without it.

    July 10, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  59. enumerated4

    The truth be told, the largest group at risk for having and passing HIV/AIDS is blacks. Why aren't blacks banned?

    July 10, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  60. Terry Brookman

    Simple solution, if you are going to have a procedure done then go and give blood to be stored for you. This can be done at any time just in case you might need it.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  61. BrownSugarC

    How do you think it was introduced into our blood supply. The government knows the name of the man who brought AIDS to the US. They know what airline he flew on and what City he flew into. They test blood now THANK GOODNESS. Many Americans have been infected by tainted blood. Hopefully one of your famiily members is not one of those people.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  62. Dan

    As a transfusion nurse and a former blood bank employee I have a little more perspective on this subject than some of the people commenting on this subject. No body is talking about the recipients of these donated units of blood. These people are very sick or dying. Some of them have little or no immunity. The truth is blood from gay men is more likely to be infected with HiV. That not political or discriminatory or gay bashing, that's just the way it is. If someone with no immunity contracted HIV they would not last long. Suppose someone is waiting for some kind of transplant and contracts HIV from a transfusion, they would be dropped from the transplant list for good. Lets look at the big picture here, yes it's dissapointing to not be allowed to donate blood but think about the person getting the transfusion. You might be giving HiV to a newborn baby

    July 10, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Or me. No thanks, keep your tainted blood.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Except all blood is tested for HIV regardless, and most gay men are tested regularly, and know if they have HIV, so statistics are far less important.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • David in Virginia

      I'm an "MSM," and no, I'm not giving HIV-infected blood to a newborn, because I don't /have/ HIV.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  63. LabRat

    As a lab tech, I can personally vouch for every pint of blood transfused at my hospital. All units are screened for type and double tested for antigens, which lowers the odds of transfusing HIV infected blood to less than .01%. The units are also then screened using a PCR test, which identifies the genetic materials individual to HIV, rather than the antigens, which may not develop for several weeks, or rarely, months. Also, early detection PCR testing is routinely performed at a consumer cost of $299-650.00 USD. Please remember that this is the consumer pricing range, and much higher than the actual cost of the test, which ranges from $25-95 USD. Hope this helps.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  64. Manuel J.

    Gay men have a high incidence of HIV versus the remaining population. Why should we risk someone's life because of the desire to be PC? It makes absolutely no sense!!!

    July 9, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • David in Virginia

      Because all blood, whether straight or gay in origin, is tested the same. HIV-free "gay blood" is no different than HIV-free "straight blood."

      July 10, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  65. hyper71

    The problem with HIV and blood donations is that while blood can be screened for HIV, it sometimes takes months for a positive test result after an exposure. If a blood donor has had a recent HIV exposure and gives then gives blood, despite a negative test result, the donee may still develop HIV, hence the ban on MSM donations. Are we to put patients at risk just so the MSM community can feel "less discriminated against"? It could be a steep price to pay!

    July 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wize Adz

      Straight people get AIDS, too. How do you solve that one?

      July 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Manuel J.

        gay men have a higher incident of HIV. The CDC data proves this!

        July 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gregory

        Hey Wize, they test everyone. All of the straight people get tested. They don't ask if you sell your body for money as long as you pass the HIV test your in. That's why it is discrimination. They test all of the time. So i get what your saying.. Take care.

        July 10, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Gregory

        Manual J. you are waaaaaay wrong. You are back 30 yrs. Gays don't have the highest rate of infection. Straight people do. And that is soo sad. But those are the facts. So you can stop blaming us gays. The first reported Aids death was a Straight male back in 1969. And that is soo sad. Alot of people don't know that. It's been around for awhile.

        July 10, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian Monam

      Point isn't to make the gay community feel better, the point is to increase the amount of blood donated.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gregory

        THe point is.. Is to stop discrimination. That's the point of this...

        July 10, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
      • kenz61

        Well, yes there's that and also the fact that the supply of blood is running low and not enough people are donating and a group is being left out because we can't seem to stop being an ignorant and judgemental nation.

        July 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  66. rocket

    No it is about HIV which turn to Aids !!

    July 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  67. SightSeer

    Receiving a blood transfusion DOES NOT CHANGE YOUR GENETIC STRUCTURE!!

    Oh. Canadian eh? What a shock. 🙂

    July 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • gimemo

      Hey genius.. it's a little thing called humour.Not all that funny, but humour nonetheless.And what he f do you know about Canada?Anything,...anything at all .. C'mon!

      July 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  68. tucsand

    There finally trying to get rid of stupid ban on the books, that's the main part here is it shows encouragement.

    July 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Ted Ward

    FYI: One of the reasons gay blood has not been used is that it does get tested and then the donor has to be notified if they are HIV positive. The suicide rate for gay men newly informed that they are HIV positive was at one time very high, so one way to save gay lives is to not take gay blood that way there a fewer suicides as a result. So went the thinking...

    July 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  70. MrClean

    I totally agree Scott.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  71. really

    They test the blood. This shouldn't even be an issue.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • really

      Ok, this logic can be applied to any population, with almost any disease. Some take time to detect, and the blood viability period is relatively short. So what? I'm more likely to have lime disease since I spend a good amount of time outdoors, should I be banned from donating blood as well?

      July 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  72. DSD

    If you are paid for the blood then it can not be used for transfusions. I asked the Red Cross lady about that the last time I gave blood, because I had heard you can't donate blood if you have been paid in the past (she suggested becasue I have a rare blood type that I donate platelets which prompted my questioning). The blood and platelets that are collected at paying donation sites are used to make treatments for a whole host of afflictions like Cancer and Hemophylia.
    This rule is in place specifically to discourage those who are so desperate for money, that they will engage in riskey actions, from donating blood that will be used in transfusions.

    Ps. I started donation platelets, and I confirmed the Red Cross's story there. Call me skeptical, but I could see the Red Cross making a statement to make people feel a little more comfortable about the blood supply.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  73. hardcorpscynic

    Okay. If ALL donated blood is so safe, how come anyone from Africa or who has been to Africa, can't donate? How about those from the UK or who have been to the UK?

    July 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  74. dudu

    A friend of mine, a gay, once said, most of gay community have promiscuous relationships. Not to discriminate, the blood services has a bunch of moral questions, including prohibitions of prisoners, people with certain diseases, people from certain countries, knowing of blood diseases, use of drug, etc. Don't be offended with their screening procedures.

    July 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • stephen

      Please....................please do not pretend that str8 people are less promiscuis than gay men or women.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Manuel J.

        I believe there was a list of others, besides gays. I have a neurological illness that has the "potential" to be transmitted.

        Even though there is no data to support "the ban", I don't take offense AND I don't attempt to give blood, in the event there is an unproven possibility.

        I can't say all gays take the same precaution but the presence of HIV amongst gays indicates there is that risk.

        July 10, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmycurry01

      Yeah, I know quite a few straight guys who are way more promiscuous than a lot of my gay friends. Promiscuity should not, and does not have anything to do with it. This precaution was put into place when testing was not nearly as advanced, and people were less educated about HIV, and therefore more afraid of it. There was a lot of blood at the time that was not properly tested, or not tested at all. Many people did get bad blood transfusions then. The safety precautions have come a long way since then. The likelihood of a bad transfusion has decreased significantly. HIV treatment has also come a long way. In the unlikely event that infected blood is given, the disease is now more manageable and not the death sentence it once was. I still wouldn't want HIV, but I would rather take the gamble with low odds of getting it than bleed to death because there wasn't enough blood for a transfusion.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • BrownSugarC

        If you can AFFORD treatment. Many Americans cannot and if you live in Iowa, Louisana or Texas, the chance that you will be able to access free health is slim to none according to their govenors Perry, Jindal & Branstad.

        July 10, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Gregory

      That happens in straight relationship's too promiscuous relationships. Please it's been that way sense man and woman walked the earth. This is not just a gay thing for sure.. Wow...

      July 10, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  75. htk

    The reason they do not allow gays to donate blood is because of the extremely high rate of disease not to mention the test cost $400 and it is simply not cost effective. Not to mention it opens up people to virus in blood that is newly infected and has no VISIBLE HIV ANTIBODIES BUT CAN STILL BE CONTAGIOUS.

    July 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • really

      You just described just about every disease. Where are you getting your $400 price tag from? Your wild imagination?

      July 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • micjey1313

      all blood is screend not a days, it is the only safe anyway.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  76. relmfoxdale

    They can't have my blood, either, and I'd give it if I could. Heck, I like needles. Alas, my family's English. The blood bank discriminates against the English because of psychiatric disorders in their livestock. 😉

    July 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • alex

      no, its your red coats, the techs can't tell if you're leaking or not.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • neilleeds

      It was because of mad cow disease, which was around about 20+ years ago for a couple of years. I don't hear of anybody dying from it, and after 20 years I doubt I will. And Brits give blood in their own country and nobody is dying. And the rule is such that if you've visited the UK for more than a few days anytime in the past 25 years you can't give blood. I'm sure that takes a lot of the donor demographics, white, middle class, middle age, right out of the equation. I can't give blood for that reason, visited the UK too many times, and I'm O-, universal donor.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Stephanie

        I can't give blood because of the mad cow disease thing and having visited the UK – and I want to give blood! Why not look at this exclusion first of all? It was put in place in the 90's and I had to stop giving blood then. I'm sure they could rescreen donors like me to assess the risks we pose and let some of us back into the donor system.

        July 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
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