MSMs have the same blood as everyone else
Outdated laws inhibit life saving donations
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 02:03
Thousands of things are outdated: Latin, pagers, desktop computers, and Betamax. But nothing is as outdated as the FDA’s regulations on men who have sex with men, or MSMs, and their inability to give blood.
In the summer of 2012 The American Red Cross, after already being down nearly 10 percent in donations, released a statement detailing a shortage of blood donations due to extensive power outages in the northeast. Thenthis year, as spring and summer rapidly approach, the Red Cross is expecting the amount of blood donations to decline, mainly due to typical seasonal factors. That, combined with the fact that blood donations are always low, will create a large need.The organization states that around 44,000 blood donations are needed every day and someone needs blood every two seconds.
In a time of the global AIDS crisis the FDA is enforcing regulations that specifically restrict MSMs from donating blood, ever. It’s commonplace for individuals with tattoos, piercings, and jail time are forced to wait 12 months between said incident and blood donation. However, any menwho admit to having had sex with other men anytime after 1977 (roughly 36 years ago) can never donate. The fundamental flaw in this is that any woman who has had sex with a man who has had sex with another man anytime after 1977 could easily donate. Of course, anyone can lie about their history and any sample that is actually unclean is not used, but the mere fact that MSMs are forced by federal law not to donate is absurd.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois told CNN, "This is a matter of life and death and we are turning away over 50,000 healthy men who want to donate blood." He continued to explain how a heterosexual individual sleeping with multiple partners is far more at risk than a homosexual individual in an exclusive relationship. While not much is actually in motion, the Red Cross is pushing, along with the American Association of Blood Banks, to initiate federal reform.
American’s are typically proud to boast our nation’s tendency to stand out as a progressive leader, yet this ludicrous law has stood in place for over 30 years. In December of 2011 Mexico became the first country in North America to allow MSMs to donate blood. Maybe it’s time America follows in the footsteps of our friends south of the border.