There is a war raging on in the United States. No, I am not talking about Afgahstan. Or Iraq. Or even the failed War on Drugs.
Instead, I am talking about the one that was started in the 1980’s against gay men and our right to donate blood.
Since the 80’s gay men, and only gay men (or rather men who have sex with men… which is gay, but apparent the FDA has to clarify it) may not donate blood if they have had sex since 1977.
This law was created with the intent of stopping the spread of HIV, and the year 1977 was picked as the year that the AIDS epidemic came to the United States.
This law needs to be changed.
Today, every drop of blood that is donated is tested for HIV. It is done efficiently and effectively, and the risks of spreading HIV, or getting HIV from donated blood, is nearly non-existent.
The law is simply stopping eligible donors from doing so. And now is not the time to be doing that. Not when the American Red Cross is begging the FDA to lift the ban, especially when power outages last week — and the week before– right here in the DC area, has left their blood supply in the red.
To suggest that banning potential blood donors is right is wrong. It’s prejudice. Especailly in the way that it is being done. The demand for blood is through the roof, and the donors to help bring up those numbers are down. Allowing gay men to donate blood would relieve this problem.
However, instead of asking that this prejudice, useless policy be lifted, 64 officials — including 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.
A study to determine if this ban is useless and prejudice.
The answer is pretty simple: stopping people from donating blood, is killing people. It’s keeping the blood supply down. It’s hurting our nation. And it’s demoralizing.
It needs to end. Not be studied.