Lift The Gay Blood Ban

at

blood

Sean of Irish Student Activism Network writes:

We are a group of DCU [Dublin City University] students who are gathering a petition that seeks to Repeal the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) Males who Have Sex with Males (MSM) Blood donation ban. If you think your readership might be interested in taking part in the petition the link to it is here

Previously:

Until I Mentioned I Had A Boyfriend

James Reilly’s Letter About Gay Blood Donors

James And The Gay Blood Ban

76 thoughts on “Lift The Gay Blood Ban

  1. ivan

    I thought we’d done this before? As far as I know, the ‘ban’ on men who have sex with men giving blood isn’t because they want to discriminate *against* men who have sex with men, but rather that they want to protect the recipients of transfusions.

    If there’s a statistical probability thing that says that men who have sex with men are more likely to have ‘infected’ blood (and i use the word ‘infected’ for the sake of clarity of expression, rather than seeking to insult), then the duty the BTSB is to the recipient, *more than* to the feelings of a donor who feels they’re being discriminated against.

    I don’t doubt for a moment the honourable motives of folks such as Sean above have; giving blood is a good thing, but we have to bear in mind that it’s for the good of the recipient we do it – not ourselves.

    It seems that in the UK, men who have sex with men *can* give blood, but only if, er, “As of November 2011, a man who has sex with men can donate blood provided they have not had anal or oral sex with a man during the past 12 months (even with a condom). Previously, men who had sex with men were not allowed to donate blood.” In other words, it’s only – as i read it – sexually inactive men who have sex with men.

    1. Jordofthejungle

      Of the countries that have lifted the ban, most notably Spain, medics have referred to the redundancy of the ban as all blood has to be obligatorily put through the same screening process for the usual diseases from whatever the source. The statistics are meaningless in this regard as a lifelong celibate nun’s blood donation is subject to the same tests as say men who have sex with men donors (whether they choose to reveal this detail about themselves or not). These facts have led to the UK reducing the severity of the MSM donation ban with a likelihood of adopting the Spanish system.

      Curiously Russia has no ban on MSM donations with again medics making reference to the inevitable screening process for all blood donations as personal information supplied cannot be ever be taken as gospel.

      1. gertrude

        from a huffington post article 2013
        > They argue that the U.S. could move now to emulate Spain and Italy, where blanket bans on gay blood donations have been replaced by policies that ban donations by anyone – gay or straight – who’s recently had unsafe sex, while allowing donations from gays and bisexuals whose blood is tested as safe and whose sexual behavior is deemed to pose no risk.

        From a guardian article 2009.
        > Since Spain and Italy ended their total gay ban, the number of HIV infections from contaminated blood donations has fallen dramatically. They eased the restrictions and, at the same time, improved the screening process and educated gay donors about the new policy.

        just to set the record straight the ban is not lifted, the ban is shorter and now called a deferral. only gays and bisexuals whose blood is tested as safe and whose sexual behaviour is deemed to pose no risk, have their blood accepted.

    2. Starina

      It has nothing to do with feelings. It’s to do with the fact that straight people can donate no matter how promiscuous they are or whether or not they practice safe sex, whereas gay men flat-out can’t donate in Ireland at the moment, unless they lie. Straight people carry HIV, too.

      From Dublin AIDS alliace: “The highest proportion of new diagnoses in 2013 (46.2%) were among men who have sex with men (MSM).” However, “Heterosexual contact accounted for 38.1% of new diagnoses.”

      Also, we’re not the UK.

      1. ivan

        Ok, but it’s not a ‘ban’ based on prejudice in the Iona Institute mould, is what I’m getting at. The ‘ban’ is based on a pretty sound scientific rationale, and it’s unfortunate it has knock-on effects that may seem unfair. I mentioned the UK for comparative purposes solely.

        It’s like (but not the same, I’ll grant you) as people driving. Pal of mine has epilepsy and his insurance is sky feckin’ high, despite the fact that the odds on him getting an attack are, really, quite minimal, and he’s always been a careful driver. The rest of us pay a regular premium but might be more likely to have a crash due to being hungover, forgetting your glasses, whatever…

        1. Jordofthejungle

          The epilepsy comparison is non-sensical. Your friend has been diagnosed by doctors with epilepsy, however mild or infrequent the possibility of seizures. The gay man who wishes to donate is barred because of presumed sexual activity not because of actual diagnosis with an STD leading to the ridiculous situation we read here a few months back where a young celibate gay man without any experience of sexual activity (he was a virgin) is barred simply because of being gay by the system yet the promiscuous heterosexual male who doesn’t reveal his full sexual history either by omission or delusion can happily donate.

          But it is all academic as the system inevitably must and does treat all blood as high risk in terms of testing, paying particular attention to disease incubation periods.

          1. ivan

            That’s why I said ‘like’ and said (but not the same, I’ll grant you); the presumption of sexual activity is based on science and statistics. Now they may be wrong. They may be outdated. They may be outmoded, and if they are any of these three, then I look forward to the day when men who have sex with men can give blood.

            Seriously – discrimination – if it isn’t religious then what is it? The BTSB are howling for more donations constantly. If they could tap into another section of society easily for the benefit of their supplies, I can’t think why they wouldn’t.

            That’s why I mentioned Iona; you can imagine those clueless numpties holding dear to a religious ideal, eschewing common sense and practicalities for the sake of offending their imaginary friend up in Heaven. But the medical bods in the BTSB; they’re quite OK with giving out bottles of beer (or they were anyway) during lent; the discrimination argument doesn’t stack up with me.

        2. Jordofthejungle

          To be fair, it is disingenuous and reductionist to suggest opponents of the MSM ban view it as a discriminatory religious practice beloved of Iona Institute sympathisers. I don’t view the ban as having a mala fides discriminatory animus but do argue for its removal because it gives rise to a situation which doesn’t make medical sense for the reasons I have already outlined. There is discrimination but it doesn’t necessarily impute a nefarious Iona style intent.

        3. Jordofthejungle

          One could equally argue that Spain has abandoned the MSM ban based on sound scientific rationale. All blood was and is deemed by the system as high risk anyhow whether donated by the honest lifelong celibate nun or the married “heterosexual” man who either by omission or delusion or both forgets to mention his other life of risky sexual practices with men. Both types of blood are subject to the same litany of tests, even months after donating taking into account incubation times for certain diseases such as HIV. Hilariously Russian medics have made this very same point.

      2. Don Pidgeoni

        TBF, I think straight people who sleep around and don’t practice safe sex would be screened out by the questions they give you before you donate. Assuming people are honest of course.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          “people who sleep around and don’t practice safe sex”
          “honest”

          I’m not saying those are completely orthogonal sets, but c’mon – you can’t really think every cheating husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is going to tick the box on a form to say they’ve been sleeping around on their partner (and if they do, how could you believe their answer about safe sex?).

          1. Mark Dennehy

            Yes, that’s rather the point, it’s an enormous assumption, one which is used to block a pretty large chunk of the population from donating blood that’s badly needed all the time.
            And you know why they say it’s a bad idea to assume…

          2. Don Pidgeoni

            The questions aren’t the only method of making sure blood is safe. The questions are to screen out high-risk people so they don’t have to waste money testing blood that might test positive for something. Some people will lie. But those people are probably also less likely to donate in the first place.

          3. Mark Dennehy

            Waste money?
            You’re not understanding the point. They have to test *everything* because the statistics won’t tell them anything about specific units of blood. Someone who’s not in any high-risk category might have any STD because their partner cheats, or their dentist treated someone with vCJD before them (prions don’t get killed off by normal sterilisation techniques, yay), or any number of other methods that they wouldn’t know about, so the forms are useless anyway and are just adding cost and work for no benefit, not to mention cutting off a significant amount of donors for a much-needed resource.

          4. Don Pidgeoni

            Yes, waste money. Why spend money on facilities, staff, collecting, testing and processing units that have to be discarded when you can screen some of those out at an early stage? Do you know how many people and how much time are involved in collecting and processing one unit? I do. I used to work at a blood service.

            “so the forms are useless anyway and are just adding cost and work for no benefit,

            No, they don’t.

            “not to mention cutting off a significant amount of donors for a much-needed resource.”

            Depends on your blood type as to how needed you might be. I completely agree that some MSM should probably be allowed to donate but that needs to be balanced against public health. I trust the the scientists who know about this kind of thing have got it right. It would be interesting to see what stats come out of Spain and other countries in terms of cross-infection via blood transfusions and would be great if the stats (which you may not agree with because “guessing”…) come back to show that it is actually ok to go with MSM donors.

          5. Spaghetti Hoop

            Question for Don re blood service. Suppose they’ve screened out 1)gay men and 2) UK-dwellers in the 90s whether 1)had sex with a man or 2) ate beef or not. And amongst those groups were people with rare / high-demand blood types. Will the blood banks still get their required stocks from the rest of the folk? Actually, how can stocks ever be deemed adequate if the demand is unknown?

          6. Mark Dennehy

            Again, you’re not getting the point.

            EVERY. SINGLE. DONOR. who walks in that door is potentially infected with something. Every time they walk in. You have to test *everyone*. You cannot save money that way. But by turning away a large percentage of possible donors without knowing if they are actually infected or not, you are costing money in advertising for more donors and you are risking lives through low blood supply levels.

          7. Don Pidgeoni

            @Spaghetti. Im not medical tech but….

            Stocks of certain blood groups are rare, anything rhesus negative say. So that group is small. The % of people who are gay or ate beef in the UK during that time AND were a rare blood type would be a tiny percentage of that small percent, if that makes sense. So how much are you really missing out on? Probably not that many.

            And for some of those blood types you can use other ones (like O-), so you can get around it. This probably happens the most because you have other things to match on that can be more important.

          8. Don Pidgeoni

            @Mark EVERY. SINGLE. DONOR. who walks in that door is potentially infected with something. Every time they walk in. You have to test *everyone*. You cannot save money that way.

            Yes. Thats not what I am saying though is it?

            Advertising doesn’t get that many donors in. Mostly its people whose family members or friends have needed blood or have donated for ages. Risking lives? The current supply doesn’t look that bad

          9. Spaghetti Hoop

            Thanks Don. I fall into category 2) and of a blood type of about 3% reach. Was a regular donor but when they brought in the UK/CJD ban I just figured they’d get their stocks elsewhere. Certainly didn’t get all precious about it. I can’t understand why some gay men are finding their ban discriminative.

          10. Don Pidgeoni

            Tbf, I would be pretty annoyed at being completely disregarded as a donor if it was something I want to do and I knew I wasn’t high risk but was lumped in with everyone else. Completely see where gay men would be coming from. I would probably still understand that as a group, MSM are a high risk to the supply until stats say otherwise. I would rather that for the greater good high risk people didn’t get into the supply.

          11. Mark Dennehy

            That is exactly what you’re saying Don. You’re saying “this donor’s high-risk so we don’t test them, but these donors are lower-risk so we test them”. And that’d be grand if risk and data were the same thing, but they’re not.

            All you’re doing is reducing the amount of blood in the supply. That’s it. That’s all. We don’t save money because we’re having to advertise all the time and that costs more than the testing. We don’t save lives because (a) having less blood costs lives and (b) those “low risk” donors you test are not in some way “safe”. Any one of them could be in that lovely initial window where you have HIV but the test can’t pick it up. So whenever you get a blood transfusion, it’s as unsafe as if you’d just dropped the prescreening and tested everyone.

            And frankly, until you ban everyone who’s been to France, Spain, Ireland, the United States, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan, you can’t say these bans are just for medical reasons (those are all the nations where people have died from vCJD after eating beef in their native country). And since Ireland’s on that list (we’ve had 4 cases, only 2 of which were known to have been contracted in the UK), that might impact on our supply somewhat…

        2. Sidewinder

          The only questions on your sexual history are:

          If you are male have you ever had sex with another male
          Have you had sex with someone who was given money or drugs for sex
          Have you ever been given money or drugs for sex
          If you’re female had sex in the last year with a man who has ever had sex with a man

          For heterosexual people those questions do almost nothing to expose their sexual history.

          If you assumed every man in Ireland between 15-64 was gay and that every person in Ireland living eith HIV/AIDS was a gay man aged 15-64 then around just 0.4% of that population would be HIV positive. That compares with 12% of the population of South Africa but there is no lifetime ban for South African people.

          The gay blood ban did start with deep rooted homophobia and the IBTS have simply dug in their heels. There is no scientific reason for it that would not require the expansion of the rule to cover at least a dozen other demographics. It is dictionary definition discrimination and the country’s blood stores suffer because of it.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Its not about a detailed account of your sexual history, its about identifying risk. The risk is higher in MSM. See response above about stats from Spain etc.

          2. Sidewinder

            Which is why, Don, I pointed put that the risk of having HIV is 3 times higher if you’re from South Africa than if you’re a gay man in Ireland and that’s assuming that every single case of HIV in Ireland is a man who has sex with men. And yet, no lifetime ban for South Africans. The fact is that no matter how many reasons you give for banning this high*er* risk group the FACT is that those same reasons are not applied to all similarly high risk groups. That is textbook discrimination and, quite simply, bad science.

          3. Mark Dennehy

            And that’s the damn problem Don. “Risk” is not the same thing as “Data”.
            I’m male. I’m at risk for prostate cancer. But that doesn’t mean I actually have prostate cancer. I’d have to take a test to find out if I did or not. What you’re saying is the equivalent of my GP saying “well, you’re male, so I’m going to go ahead and proscribe a round of chemotherapy before we get any imaging or biopsies”.

          4. Don Pidgeoni

            Risk is estimated from data, so they are kinda the same thing. And denying blood donation is not the same as filling someone full of cell-destroying drugs, so no not equivalent in the slightest.

          5. Mark Dennehy

            Risk is an estimate of future outcomes based on previous outcomes. You’re familiar with this, it’s what bookies call “odds”.
            Data is *actual outcomes from actual events*. You’re familiar with this, it’s what courts call “evidence”.
            If you think those two are “kinda the same thing”…

          6. Anne

            If you’re female, had sex in the last year with a man who has ever had sex with a man

            Not sure how’d you know.
            What difference does a year make?

      3. gertrude

        You are making a mistake in ignoring the size of population that is based on, 46% = 46 people, 38% 38 people. The size of the population the 46 people are drawn from is an awful lot smaller than the size of the population the 38 people are drawn from. It’s 1/50th the size. So it’s not accurate to say it’s just as likely. Probability and statistics is always counter intuitive.

    1. Jordofthejungle

      As Spain’s (Spain lifted the MSM donor ban a few years ago) medics have pointed out the statistics are meaningless as all blood is put through the same rigourous screening process anyhow. Neither the source nor statistics obviate this requirement. The UK has also recognised this salient fact inciting a partial lifting of the ban. Lots of MSM donate blood anyhow thinking they are not actually MSM which they may equate with solely being gay. The integrity of the blood supply is protected by mandatory testing of everyone’s donated blood.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        That’s all very well – screening is essential for all donated blood – but I believe that the IBTS want to remove the NEED to screen blood from high risk donors: MSM and from those who lived in the UK during the Creutzfeldt-Jakob scare. Makes sense. People are unnecessarily finding offence in this.

        1. Jordofthejungle

          I wouldn’t say talking offence is the mot juste but looking at Spain where these arguments were raised prior to lifting the ban re high risk categories, doctors argued that while the statistics make sense, there was an illogicality as in a way everyone’s donated blood is viewed by the system as high risk. Testing takes place having regard to incubation times for certain diseases like HIV – testing takes place some time after donation to allow for all these issues. As Spanish medics pointed out lots of high risk categories donated blood without even realising they were high risk therefore the system always must treat all donated blood as high risk.

        2. Don Pidgeoni

          They would ALWAYS have to screen, regardless because 1) you can’t trust people to be honest 2) some people don’t know they are infected with HIV/Hep C/syphilis etc 3) they have to screen for things like CMV anyway 4) it would be a massive liability to not screen blood products in case people got sick and sued the state

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            Absolutely right. The information step is still a helpful filter. They can be just as selective of blood type and only take donations from types in low reserve. Are people going to feel ‘discriminated’ then too?

          2. Don Pidgeoni

            They do target donors who are rare blood types or have what they need for particular products. And generally have drives to increase stocks before holiday periods or if stocks get low. They are pretty clever people.

            I don’t see why anyone would feel discriminated against for donating the wrong type of blood ie that could kill someone pretty quickly.

          3. Sidewinder

            Yeah, they regularly plague my O- dad with letters and texts whereas my common as muck O+ merely merits a text when my 90 days have passed. This is a sound scientific reason applied equally across the board. It’s not the same at all.

    2. Sidewinder

      Yes MSM is a high risk group but other high risk groups are not treated the same way. People from areas with high rates of HIV, sex workers, drug users etc. The reasons for the ban are not applied equally ergo it is discriminatory.

  2. Bonzor

    I’ve spoken to people who work in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service about this issue. It has nothing to do with discrimination, it is based on medical evidence. Their argument is that while all blood is screened, HIV has an window between infection and that infection’s appearance in tests which means it can be missed.

    1. John Cassidy

      Fair enough. That’s cleared that up so. And I’m not being my usual facetious self this time. I guess I won’t be donating blood any time soon. Although I’d love to know what the rates of HIV infection are these days among gay men (I think that term MSM is ridiculous, trying not to hurt the feelings of married men on the down low) with all these anti/retro viral drugs around.

        1. Mark Dennehy

          Just to clarify something, statistics don’t apply to individual events.

          Or, to be more explicit about it, if I flip a coin, statistics can tell me what the odds are of flipping heads. There is no such thing anywhere in human knowledge as a bit of math that can tell me what *this* flip of *this* coin is going to be until the coin is flipped.

          Or, to avoid using analogy, you can produce all the statistics in the world, and none of them will tell you even one thing about a specific unit of blood. You have to actually run the test to know. Until that point, what you have is what in technical terms we refer to as a “guess”. Or in looser terminology, “something you pulled out of your hat”. Yeah, you can dress it up and you can make it the very best guess you can, but you will never actually know anything about any specific unit of blood until the test is done.

      1. Jordofthejungle

        There is a hint of discrimination though. A promiscuous heterosexual male or a delusional married MSM can happily donate without the need to supply a full sexual history (an impossibility admitted by the UK blood donation service given the sheer amount of donations) while a monogamous gay couple with a history of HIV and STD testing cannot donate. What about the female donor who unwittingly sleeps regularly with an MSM? As Spain’s blood service has pointed out, the system must, does and did view all donated blood as high risk to ensure integrity of the system – personal details recorded can never be assumed to be true no matter who claims to be donating.

    2. Just sayin'

      I’m not in favour of over-ruling unbiased expert medical advice for the cause of political correctness.

      I can’t give blood because of surgery I had 20 years ago – I have to accept that. Other at-risk individuals/groups should learn to accept they are an elevated risk too.

      1. Sidewinder

        Except it’s not unbiased medical advice. It’s the IBTS digging its heels in on a decades old rule that most blood transfusion services abandoned years ago or will very soon. Medicine accepts that new knowledge changes practice or every woman with morning sickness would still be takin thalidomide. New knowledge is that MSM is one of many groups at higher risk of contracting HIV her the IBTS isolates this one group for a lifetime ban. That’s simply not scientific.

    3. Jordofthejungle

      Looking at Spain where these arguments were raised prior to lifting the ban re high risk categories, doctors argued that while the statistics make sense, there was an illogicality as in a way everyone’s donated blood is viewed by the system as high risk. Testing takes place having regard to incubation times for certain diseases like HIV – testing takes place some time after donation to allow for all these issues. As Spanish medics pointed out lots of high risk categories donated blood without even realising they were high risk, the female who unwittingly sleeps with MSM or a promiscuous heterosexual male who thinks only homosexuals are high risk therefore the system always must treat all donated blood as high ris. The veracity of personal details supplied (as opposed to the ones withheld or glossed over) cannot ever be assumed.

  3. Unpredictor

    “Have you spent one year or more in total/cumulatively in the UK* between 1980 and 1996, including living, working or on holidays?”

    Are they still waiting for the Mad Cow epidemic to become apparent?

    1. TheQ47

      That one is a bit mad (pun intended) alright.

      Mrs TheQ47 worked for three years in Belfast during that time, and I spent many weekends visiting her there. Between that and family holidays in NI, Scotland and England during the 80s and early 90s, I’m very close to the limit. I worked out I spent around 45 weeks in UK during the time involved, and I’d say there’s many people who’d be in a similar situation.

    2. FistoRoboto

      Yes, as CJD has a rather long incubation period and there is no way to test via blood – only when one it is too late and it is obvious the person has CJD.

      As I lived in the UK during the BSE outbreak, I am forbidden to ever give blood, and rightly so.

      Whilst one could argue that prohibiting MSM from giving blood is discriminatory, as one poster pointed out there is a period where a blood screening will fail for HIV / AIDS and thus donations should be refused…. We don’t want another Hep crisis

        1. Don Pidgeoni

          A test that still needs to be verified in a large sample, picked up by a drug company and made available commercially.

  4. Mark Dennehy

    So instead of saying “feck it” and testing everything, we’re what, depending on someone not lying on a form before they give blood?

    Or are we testing everything already and the questions on the form are just designed to turn away honest people who have pet monkeys so we can… what, save money on testing even as we spend it on advertising to plead for blood when we don’t have enough?

    Look, if someone says they have a pet monkey on the form, that doesn’t tell you squat. Take a unit of blood, test it. If they have something, note it on their record, inform them, and red-flag their record on that lovely little swipe-card based computerised system so they can’t ever give blood again. But it makes no sense to be turning away donors whose blood you haven’t tested while at the same time making appeal after appeal for donors to come forward.

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      “So instead of saying “feck it” and testing everything, we’re what, depending on someone not lying on a form before they give blood?”

      Jesus….

      No, everything is tested. As someone has pointed out, the issue with HIV is the time it takes to turn up in tests, which can be 3 months after infection. From a public health pov, of course they are going to exclude people who are high-risk.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        In other words, you don’t understand the point.

        If the test can’t tell you if a donor has HIV, and a donor can get HIV without knowing, then excluding people who are high-risk isn’t going do a damn thing to protect anyone because it’s solving the wrong problem. All it does is cut down on supply; it does nothing to verify the safety of that supply.

        What you need to do is quit wasting effort to give people a false sense of security (at the cost of a reduced supply of a vital product) and fix the *actual* problem.

        1. Don Pidgeoni

          “If the test can’t tell you if a donor has HIV, and a donor can get HIV without knowing, then excluding people who are high-risk isn’t going do a damn thing to protect anyone because it’s solving the wrong problem. ”

          Mark, seriously. The test can miss people who have HIV for up to 3 months. Excluding people were are at high-risk excludes the number of blood units that might test negative but are positive. You cannot solve the problem of the test because, biologically, you don’t get the antibodies for a while after infection. So, you solve the problem of the gap by excluding those who might be in the gap.

          I give up. Its like leading a horse to water and the horse dying out of sheer willfulness.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            “The test can miss people who have HIV for up to 3 months. Excluding people were are at high-risk excludes the number of blood units that might test negative but are positive. You cannot solve the problem of the test because, biologically, you don’t get the antibodies for a while after infection. So, you solve the problem of the gap by excluding those who might be in the gap.”

            Yes, that makes perfect sense.

            In a universe where only gay men get HIV.
            Of course, in *our* universe, that’s not the case and your argument goes out the window because every single donor who walks through that door has to be tested every single time because in the time since you last saw them, they could have been infected any one of a dozen ways without them knowing about it.

            In other words, no matter what, you have to test everyone’s blood the same way if you accept it; so accepting all of it until it tests positive for something nasty is the only logical thing you can do.

            If you’re going about taking donations off people who’ve donated before and acting like it’s safe, but taking a donation off someone who lived in the UK or was gay is not safe, then you don’t actually understand what you’re doing. This pre-screening malarky does absolutely nothing for patient safety; the only thing that does anything for patient safety is testing.

          2. Don Pidgeoni

            Mark, this is about managing risk.

            “In a universe where only gay men get HIV.” No one is saying that are they? MSM have a higher risk so are excluded because of that. People who take heroin via needles are excluded because they have a higher risk. Sex workers are excluded. I donate see you asking for them to donate?

            You are wrecking my head. Im out.

          3. Mark Dennehy

            Don, if you want to talk about managing risk, you’re going to have to start mentioning some other things too – like the actual risk levels associated with the different demographics, what the risk levels are like for those getting transfusions, what people consider to be “acceptable” risk levels and a whole host of other things that have never been mentioned publicly.

            You’re also going to have a better grasp of statistics than you’ve shown so far :)

            But go ahead, quote the figures. Have an actual, real discussion instead of saying “we’re doing it for safety reasons” which is utter horse hockey.

          4. bob

            Amazed you stuck with it that long Don. You’re a lot more patient than I would have been.

            I wasn’t even patient enough to read it all, but any time I did Mark seemed to be completely missing and misunderstanding your point.

          5. Don Pidgeoni

            “You’re also going to have a better grasp of statistics than you’ve shown so far :)”

            Ohh, passive-aggressive smiley. You come across like a total tool. And why would I bother to quote figures at you? You think stats are all guessing and made up.

            Really out this time. Enjoying arguing with yourself.

  5. Nially

    If your rules around blood donation function in a way that means that two gay men who have only had protected sex with each other can’t donate, while two straight men who have had sex with countless women without always using protection can, then yes, your policy is discriminatory.

    The rampant abuse of statistics and ‘logic’ every time this issue comes up wrecks my head. To keep it as short as possible, “Gay men are more likely than straight men to have HIV” does not mean “This gay man here is more likely to have HIV than any given straight man next to him”.

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