And I still can't donate since I ate beef in Europe 35 years ago.


If you spent 3 months or more in the UK in the 80's you cant donate blood. I spent the 80's in the UK in the 80's....


Um, why is this the case?


Mad Cow Disease is a nasty little thing.


Absolutely insidious. There are still cases popping up -- it can take up to 50 years in some cases so we're going to continue to see them for a while.


I listened to a podcast with a gentleman who told his story caring for his young daughter with mad cow disease, while caring for her his wife became unwell with it as well. His story was horrific and he said the noises they made were one of the things that haunted him the most. Sadly both passed away. It was a shocking listen. So sad.


I think because of prions


Same, except I didn’t even eat beef there. And it’s not just the UK. Most of Western Europe. Also lived in South Africa at the peak of the AIDS epidemic but apparently that’s fine because it can be more easily detected. Apparently Western Europe is going to drop dead of mad cow any moment now, the higher life expectancy than the US must just be a myth. /s


I had asked one time if they would ever develop a test to see if your blood was positive for the prion, that way if you got a negative test you could donate. Someone said they were working on it.


you can carry the prion but not get the disease? TIL


My understanding is that it takes many decades before it manifests, like Alzheimer's.


More or less. Basically, prions are nigh on indestructible for whatever ungodly reason. They just sit there. Eventually, seemingly at random, they may decide to replicate. Some, like CWD, replicate super fast in their host species. Mad Cow can be a lot slower in humans. The worst part is that, since they are nearly indestructible, they are also impossible to treat. Once you have a prion disease, it's a ticking time bomb of suffering.


How do you know you didn’t eat beef? You tested every meal to determine that there was no beef in it?


My parents were paranoid about it from before I was born in the midst of it and did exactly that, to the point of avoiding all dubious meat that wasn’t roast chicken etc.


How do they handle blood donations in the UK? Is everyone born before 1990 banned from donating blood?


I lived in England in my final year of uni, 1991. Worked at a pub that made amazing beef, onion cheddar burgers. Barred for life.


Same. Dad was army, I was born abroad. Have O+ blood but as of a few years ago, am not allowed to donate due to the swine flu concerns. Sucks, I really enjoy donating.




O+ here as well and healthy as a horse... *sigh*


But fun fact, you could still be a bone marrow donor if you’re a match for someone!


Interesting, haven't done or heard that before. Tks for the info!


Yeah! Check out [Be The Match](https://bethematch.org/?ref=marrow17&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkrTR_sCv9QIVhQeICR0ctAAHEAAYASAAEgIX_vD_BwE) My partner can’t donate blood for the same reason and I worked in donation for almost 10 years before I learned that that criteria can sometimes be waved for bone marrow. Also, you can still be an organ donor, the organs would just be considered PHS high risk but still transplantable.


*The first step to being someone's cure is to join Be The Match Registry®. If you are between the ages of 18-40, committed to donating to any patient in need, and meet the health guidelines, there are two ways to join.* [From](https://bethematch.org/support-the-cause/donate-bone-marrow/) And now I'm too old!!??! Nobody wants me... :)


Well, there’s always organ donation, but I very much hope that’s no time soon for you :)


Same here. I don't have Mad Cow DiseasMOOOOOOOOO!!!1111!!


Uh, nice udders though.


I have udders. Can you milk me, Greg?


Mad cow disease can remain dormant in people's body for a long time. Look up the UK mad cow disease.


Which makes a lot more sense since prion diseases are really nasty and can lurk for years and years.


Prion diseases are super scary to the point that if you have mad cow and get, say, your appendix taken out. The scalpel and all the other crap they use to open you up and get the surgery isn't getting cleaned. It's getting incinerated. All the doctors and nurses who worked on your surgery also get tested iirc for months after. Fuuuuuuuck that


This topic is coming up a lot since there is a blood shortage. FDA lowered the deferral period from 1 year to 3 months in a response to the pandemic. There is a study being done now with the FDA and major blood donation organizations that "could lead to a significant change to blood donor eligibility for men who have sex with men." Please visit [https://advancestudy.org/](https://advancestudy.org/) to learn more or participate in the study. For anyone else, lots of other changes were made during the pandemic- you may be eligible now. Thank you!


Thanks for sharing the information about the study. I just signed up to participate because this is important.


I ain't giving up sex with my BF for 3 months just to donate blood. Also apparently the cut off age is 39 for those interested.


American Red Cross has blackballed me because I'm gay. And I'm O-. So.... Fuck the Red Cross.


It's easy to be pissed at the Red Cross, I was too for a while. But they legally can not change their rules. It's Congress that set up that rule and they need to change it. "'Defer for 3 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 3 months.' All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.   The Red Cross recognizes the hurt this policy has caused to many in the LGBTQ+ community and believes blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation. We are committed to working with partners toward achieving this goal."




>They’re directly and indirectly artificially endangering lives for no reason other than hate. This isn't accurate and I ask you to bear with me, and keep in mind I'm gay too: -The ban literally (not figuratively, literally) has nothing to do with your sexual orientation and everything about risk mitigation. Lesbians can donate, virgin gay males can donate, gay males who don't have sex in a certain window can donate, etc. If you are a male, gay/straight/bi, that has sex with other males, you are part of a high risk group that makes up nearly 70% of new HIV infections. -Men who have sex with men are roughly 2%-4% of the population in the U.S., introducing blood from a group that is nearly 70% of new HIV infection rates isn't a smart move. Other high risk groups (people who have traveled to certain countries, people who have recently gotten tattoos, iv drug users, etc) are also part of high risk groups. It's statistically advantageous to keep blood from these groups out of the pool. -I know what you're thinking: "The blood is tested!" Yes, it is, but there's a problem. A new HIV infection can be undetectable for a period of time (thought to be two weeks but outliers could be longer) after initial infection. [There sadly have been cases](https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5941a3.htm) in the U.S. where infected blood has made it through this window and caused the recipient to get HIV. To mitigate this risk the ban for high risk groups is in effect. The less potentially infected blood in the blood pool, the less chance of this kind of thing happening. -There's often debate of "well my partner and I are monogamous!" but it should be pretty clear why that isn't a good reason (people cheat incase anyone isn't picking up what I'm putting down). There's also the "well what if we use condoms/only do oral/whatever". Instead of splitting hairs and creating a mess, there's simply a blanket ban. If you take the word "gay" out of the equation and simply look at it as risk groups suddenly the entire thing makes a lot more sense. EDIT: I wish people would take the emotion out of it and look at it as straight facts. Downvote away if it makes you feel better but nothing I said was incorrect.


Well that and the blood supply did get tainted at one point. My mother had a close friend die of AIDS in the 90s, he got it through a blood transfusion, his wife followed him 3 years later. We are well beyond that point but it was out of severe caution to begin with, not just pure bigotry. With improved screening and awareness this policy could be eased or so e away with though. We have a lot more tools and information, and HIV/AIDS isn’t the scourge it was even 20 years ago.


Waa that back when Reagan ignored the aids crisis until ir affected non lgbt individuals? When he was derelict of duty just like Trump?


> I can’t tell you how much I love to see cis het people trying to “correct” lgbt people in this thread. Please continue to talk over us and center yourself in the conversation. That’s the exact kind of allyship we really need. /s "gay people can't be wrong and if you think we're wrong then you're a bigot"


Not exactly. Up until fairly recently it was a bad idea to accept blood from people who were quite likely to have undiagnosed HIV. The HIV epidemic was ridiculous and basically eradicated a generation of gay men.


HIV rates are currently rising, not falling in gay men in the US. While it's not the death sentence it used to be it's still a massive problem.


A lot of men have some strange aversion to being tested, I have noticed. That's scary to me. Too many are more comfortable living with an unknown HIV status than actually seeing a clinic, but I bet it's mostly due to the stigma. Still... what the fuck?


If you know you're infected and pass it on, that's a (legal) issue. If you don't know and pass it on, you're in the clear. That's how I understand it at least.


Yeah, that's why I'm scared. As a bi dude I have to be really fucking careful. Too many folks trying to date and mingle don't know their own statuses. Part of that is because not knowing absolves you of blame. It's fucked and as long as that law stands, I think HIV rates will rise. It actively discourages men from testing.


I think everyone here fully understands the history behind the policy. The point is that it needs to be updated.


I don’t think that this is a safe assumption at all. I’ve talked to multiple young (late teens/early 20s) gay men who are under the impression that because straight people can get HIV, that the risk of transmission is the same. They think that any talk of gay men having higher risk is just homophobia.


I don’t think everyone fully understand based on the comment of “they could have not lobbied for it in the first place”


They also don't seem to understand that in 2019 81% of new HIV infections in men were from male to male sexual contact. This is *after* a 33% reduction in HIV transmission amongst gay men since only 2015. People aren't dying like they used to be, so it doesn't get news coverage as an epidemic. But the gay community represents the overwhelming majority of people who are newly infected (and therefore at risk of unknowingly donating infected blood). Per the CDC: >By HIV transmission category, the annual number of HIV infections in 2019, compared with 2015, decreased among males with transmission attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, but remained stable among all other transmission categories. In 2019, the largest percentages of HIV infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact (66% overall and 81% among males.) https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics


Some People want to look at the HIV and "gay disease" retoric as unscientific and just hateful...so much they will dismiss the truth that gay men are absolutely the overwhelming victims of the HIV epidemic then and now. It's not anti gay to say gay men should watch out HIV, or to say the problem population of HIv in the USA is gay men. That's factual, and important on an individual level and public health level to stop it


They could differentiate between monogamous married gay men and gay men who participate in high risk activity. That's what's done for straight people.


The main risks for getting HIV through sex is a combination of anal sex (especially receiving) and number of partners. Men who have sex with men have anal sex at a much, much higher rate than heterosexual people, so even if a gay man is monogamous, they still (most likely) have the statistical risk factor of anal sex. **And remember this is all about statistics and an acceptable level of risk.** It is not saying that all gay men have anal sex (I recently learned about the term "side"...not a top or bottom), nor is it saying that all gay men have a lot of sexual partners. Just that we have to screen for blood donors based on some unfortunately coarse metrics. If we wanted no risks then we could not accept blood from anyone.


Straight people are over 35x less likely to have HIV than gay men. [Around half of all new HIV infections are with primary partners.](https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/health/hiv-aids-men-monogamy-safe-sex/index.html) This idea that the only gay men who get HIV get it from orgies in gay bath houses needs to go away, fast. Gay men in monogamous relationships are still at enormous statistical risk and need to be aware of that.


Why? When 2% of the population represents 70% of HIV cases, it seems like a no brainer to exclude blood donations from that group.


Everyone is talking about this as if it's a homophobic policy when it's just policy lagging a decade behind science...which is the rule rather than the exception.


A look at the comments would show that people don't completely understand the history because they're acting as if the policy is homophobic. Policy in America always lags behind the times.


It was never about hate Medicine changes rules with greater understanding and testing Everyone just wants to raise a pitchfork HIV was the enemy of the red cross. Red cross treated lots of people with HIV, including gay men Quit your bullshit


\>They’re directly and indirectly artificially endangering lives for no reason other than hate. It wasn't out of hate lol. \>I can’t tell you how much I love to see cis het people trying to “correct” lgbt people in this thread. Please continue to talk over us and center yourself in the conversation. That’s the exact kind of allyship we really need. /s Lmao.


>They’re directly and indirectly artificially endangering lives for no reason other than hate. Guess it's hateful to not want to inject people with AIDs now


I'll continue to be pissed at the Red Cross because they categorically prohibit me from donating because I might gain some benefit from it. I have a condition (hemochromatosis) that requires that I have blood removed on a regular basis. The blood is fine, just a bit extra iron in there. But because blood donation will improve my health and act as a stand in for paying to have the blood removed (saving me money) the RC won't let me donate. They are allowed to accept the blood, and other blood donation groups do, they just don't want to. It has to be a one-sided deal as far as they are concerned - the donor gets nothing and they get to sell all the blood products. No mutual benefit allowed, they'd rather perfectly fine blood go in the trash. IMO you should go with a local blood bank if possible, and donate to the Red Cross only as a last resort.


Sorry to hear you've had a bad experience with blood donation. It's more of an FDA problem though, not Red Cross. If anyone is interested in blood donation, but dislike the Red Cross, look for local blood centers, or ask your hospital if they take donations. Some regional centers include: Bloodworks, Vitalant, OneBlood, and the NY Blood Center.


I used to donate to vitalant but they wouldnt take it if my heart was over 100bpm. My heart rate is always high, like my resting heart rate is 85-90. It always has been. If I walk up a flight of stairs, itll easily go over 100. I stopped trying to donate because it got so frustrating that they wouldnt take my blood because of this reason. I never understood why, if this is just normal for me, my doctor says i am fine, it's just how I am, why I can't donate. It sucks too because I'm CMV negative so my blood can go to newborns.


There's probably some liability issues with taking blood from people with high bpm.


Very odd, they take my blood and mine is equally high (naturally plus I’m on stimulants). I’m O negative.


I have the opposite problem. My resting heart rate is around 60bpm. I have been turned away from giving blood twice because they are afraid of me passing out or that it would take forever. I'm still always offered a cookie but I would rather give away some of this B+ energy!


I’m in the same boat. O negative, gay, and unable to give. I donated like clockwork until I decided I couldn’t lie about myself anymore. It’s even bigger than the Red Cross, though: it’s an FDA rule, so no one is allowed to take our blood.


Fuck the Red Cross. I will never donate to them. They outed one of my troops who tried to donate blood during the don’t ask don’t tell days.


Red Cross is a christian organization that largely has had some controversies in the past. But this one is more likely connected to government politics and uninformed politicians.


I can’t donate because I lived in England between 1980 and 1980 and my great grandmother died of kreutzfeld jacobs disease. They won’t let me be an organ donor either. I guess the mad cow prions can stay dormant my whole life if I have em.


Prions can stay dormant for more than 50 years and them suddenly kill you in a span of months... And we have no way to tell my f people are infected without autopsy and expensive equipment.


Did a project on this in college. Definitely took a little break from beef.


After learning about CWD in deer I've decided not to have venison. I know *right now* there isn't any evidence it can spread to humans, but prions are weird and tricky and no one is going to convince me they can't spread to humans.




Yeah that's gonna be a rough exit on the level of rabies


Those are to me, two of the worst ways to die, and I would not stick it out.


Hadn't even thought of this. I don't eat it, but yeah I'll do the same. Probably not necessary, but eh.


This is a huge one. Most articles agree as of late that "it's not a matter of if CWD in deer will transmit to humans, it's when". I'll never forget some stupid idiot father in an interview about CWD kept feeding his family deer with CWD because "I wouldn't do anything to harm them and this isn't harming them". I refuse to eat venison because 1. I don't like it and 2. CWD is wildly prevalent in my area and prions are nasty fucking things.


Sheep are even worse.


arg no! but they're so tasty!


Prions are horrifying


As I recall they don’t even do autopsies of suspected CJD cases, it’s too dangerous for the doctors and too difficult to sterilize the room and equipment afterwards.


It’s terrifying. A friend of mine lost his mother to a hereditary form of the disease a few years ago. She went from normal to having the mental capacity of a preschooler in months, and then passed. Nothing to be done about it. And he’s too scared to get tested and find out if he has the gene.


He should get tested though. At least, then he’ll expect it, and prepare a bucket list for himself, in the case that the disease isn’t cured during his lifetime. If he wants children, maybe look into IVF? Yes, he wouldn’t be in their lives for as long as he’d want, but that what a woman who has Familial Fatal Insomnia (she’ll develop it at some point in her life) and her husband did with their two kids, while they research a cure to her prion disease.


>I lived in England between 1980 and 1980 That long!?


Sorry hahahahaha. 1980-1990. Dammit can’t believe I typo’d


No just 2 years


Take my upvote, but know that I now hate you with every fiber of my being.


Yup. Also why they banned beef exports from the uk until recently, or at least i read they were going to lift the ban


I have a triple whammy. Gay, lived in the UK and now too old. I hadn't thought about the organ donor thing so I guess that's out too.


I was born in England in the 80s, spent max of ten months there and they won't let me donate. I have O- too, it sucks


My grandmother also died from [CJD](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creutzfeldt%E2%80%93Jakob_disease). They wont let any of my family members donate even though so many of us are O-. It's a shame, but I totally understand the precautions. I wouldn't wish that disease on my worst enemy.


And I am completely ok with this


Blood banker here: I don’t work with the Red Cross but I work in a hospital blood bank. I’m hoping to hop in before the usual comments I see about blood donation start popping up. The blood supply is *super* tightly regulated by the FDA. The literal federal government. Every single blood supplier in the country is bound by the regulations they set. Their primary goal is to create a safe blood supply. The rule for gay men not being allowed to donate was after there were people infected with HIV from an infected blood supply (look up Ryan White) decades ago. Obviously knowing what we know now this rule is **100%** outdated and unnecessary. Red Cross has been actively trying to get this rule changed because it would allow for a larger donor pool. Unfortunately, they can’t do much besides lobby for it to be changed because it’s literally not up to them. It’s up to the FDA. Blood is sold to hospitals at a profit, but the FDA again won’t allow for people to be paid to donate. It creates a negative incentive to donate, where someone who might be desperate for money who could also happen to have a disease like HIV or hepatitis could donated infected blood which could make its way to a patient. Yes, there is extensive testing done on every unit, but it’s not perfect 100% of the time. Tons of testing has to go into every unit, plus costs like overhead and paying staff, which is why it turns out to be so expensive. Is it a perfect system? No, but since blood cannot be created in a lab, it’s the best we’ve got. I always encourage people to donate whenever they can, wherever they can. The blood shortage is truly not something that’s made up by Red Cross so they can steal your blood for money. Blood transfusions are the most common medical procedure performed in hospitals and patients count on the generosity of donors alone for these products. If I can answer any other questions I’m happy to do so!


> Blood is sold to hospitals at a profit, but the FDA again won’t allow for people to be paid to donate. It creates a negative incentive to donate, where someone who might be desperate for money who could also happen to have a disease like HIV or hepatitis could donated infected blood which could make its way to a patient. Yet you can get paid handsomely to donate plasma. Is HIV and hepatitis not able to be transmitted through plasma?


Paid plasma is not used in patients. Only medical research.


Not true for all paid plasma. Grifols plasma is used to make patient treatments.


Thank you so much for this detailed post.


Whats truly awful about this policy, is that it doesn't ask about long term relationship or marriage. When I went to donate blood, they ask the question, "have you engaged in sex with another man in the past three months?" I was like, "yes, my husband for 30 years." That's when I was told I couldn't donate unless I was celibate for three months.


Same boat here. Monogamous relationship for 41 years but.... no thank you.


I mean open relationships or cheating aren't just for hetero people.


And anal isn't just gay segs but I get your point.


And HIV isn't just for gay people, but here we are.


Over 70% of new cases and over 70% of all cases are in gay men. Despite the fact that they make up only around 3% of the populace.




If you could not include 3% of a population to improve a medical care statistic anyone would do it in a heartbeat. This isn't about being prejudice, it's about making a process fast and less problematic for the other 97% so more of them donate.


honestly, they're just ridiculously careful when it comes to that for example- if you've had one false positive test for HIV- ever- you are barred from donating blood forever. or, at least, that's how it was explained to me a friend of mine took the screening, which they automatically re-test. first test came up as a positive, second (and maybe third) test came up as a negative, and the papers basically said "you don't have it, but you can't donate blood. sorry" it was actually used as an example by my statistics (or was it probabilities?) professor. "if you receive a single positive test for HIV, what's the probability that you have HIV?" and it involved a few variables. the probability was very low


I went to donate and they asked me this question and I said yes but I just tested negative on an unrelated issue for hiv. She said "so no then" and said get in line. I was able to donate.


That person is thinking sensibly.


On the other side of the spectrum, my husband and I went to donate. I'm a trans guy and he's a cis guy. I got deferred for having sex with a dude, but he was allowed to donate. A bit of a head-scratcher.




A had a good hour to wait and think about it while he donated, and the deeper I dove the less sense it made. He was allowed to donate because they considered him to be having sex with a woman. I was deferred for having sex with a gay man. Even though we're married, he might have slept around and given me something, which is why he is lower risk than I am. Erm. Huh. I don't think they thought that one through.


This means your husband told them you were female. Sorry.


[That’s around half of new HIV infections happen with primary partners.](https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/health/hiv-aids-men-monogamy-safe-sex/index.html) When you look at the group of gay men who say they're in monogamous relationships, the risk of HIV still turns out to be extremely high.


Being married doesn't mean someone can't cheat on you. You have no way of knowing which is why the question "how long have you been married" is not a good medical screening question.


By that logic everyone is an HIV risk. Just because gay men get it more often doesn't mean that a straight woman wouldn't get it from her cheating partner when she goes to donate.


You'd think, but this has nothing to do with logic. It's statistics. We don't end up with a statistically significant amount of women with HIV positive test results. You'd think we would because it should be more transmissible to them, but we can't argue with the data.


Everyone is an HIV risk. And any other disease. That's why these questions are silly. They test the blood before using it. So either it's good, disease free blood or it isn't. Sexual orientation shouldn't matter if there's testing going on.


Aren't most any blood transferred std's long term and not reduced by just time?


The idea is that it can take several months after exposure for a HIV test to come up as positive. If high risk activity stopped more than 3 months ago they are unlikely to get a false negative in screening.




That is my point. What would having sex in the last 3 months matter when something longer lasting could have occurred years before? Aren't they supposed to run tests on the blood regardless to make sure it is clean?


I think it’s because, in theory, certain recently acquired diseases can be contagious in the blood before they can be detected in the blood by tests.


Sure, if all of that’s actually true. But infidelity is a thing, Statistics show that the majority of new HIV infections are actually with primary partners. Being in a relationship doesn’t reduce the astronomically high risk of gay men getting HIV like you think it does.


I had to have emergency surgery over the weekend, and spent all of Saturday receiving blood transfusions. This is ridiculous.


Good luck recovering! I had major blood loss a year ago and received a transfusion to get my haemoglobin out of the danger zone, but it took me a few months to get back to 100%. Hopefully your recovery will be faster.


4 years at my university and every time the blood drive came, people would always ask me if I donated, and I straight faced told them every time "they don't take my gay demon blood" some people laughed, some uncomfortably and others just shocked that it is still a rule.


Lol did the people donating not notice the anal sex question?


They do but I don't think they realize what it implies (if yes, the donating process ends immediately)


I had to get a doctor's note because I have insomnia since, according to them, me having trouble falling asleep means I am somehow more likely to fall asleep while there is a fucking tube in my arm.


Whether or not they liked it?


I always said “Sorry, I bang dudes.”


Beware, science-deniers ahead.


I worked in the blood plasma industry for 20+ years and the enforcement of not allowing gay men to “donate” really varied from center to center depending the management team’s biases (regardless of FDA or EMA regulations.) In one center there was a Manager who pulled donors into his office for questioning if they displayed a pride sticker or wore a pride bracelet. This was in a college town so showing pride didn’t necessarily mean they fell in a high risk group. At the last center I worked there were several gay men who donated and the management didn’t care as long they were relatively quiet about it. “Donations” we’re down so every drop of that liquid gold helped push them closer to their bonus. And at the end of the day every unit was PCR and antigen tested before it was pooled for production. The gay men donating were really the least of their concerns when it came to high risk behaviors in the plasma center. (Edited - grammar)


To be clear, the gay male population is not large enough to significantly alter the supply levels. But I have often wondered about this policy. Blood samples are batched together and tested as one. So if there is an HIV positive in the mix they would then have to retest all individual members of the batch (see cost+time). And the gay community still has a major AIDS problem. So I guess I'm curious what rate batches would be retested at with the higher risk vs how many more donations would be acquired? Perhaps they're also concerned of false negatives allowing it through. I don't know what that math is to know how bad the policy is. If it's needless then it's a stupid policy to have. If it impacts more than expected and the risk actually isn't worth it, then it's fair even if it sounds bad. Because the goal is more safe blood.


> So I guess I'm curious what rate batches would be discarded at with the higher risk vs how many more donations would be acquired? I assume, at least at the time of the initial policy, that it was a substantial enough percentage that they had to institute the policy in the first place.


The reason the policy exists in the first place is they weren't testing properly at the time and a batch with HIV got through. That was the start of the lifetime ban (though not the end of tainted batches).


Batches are typically a dozen or less depending on test. They retest each sample individually if a positive batch occurs. The positive sample can then be isolated and discarded, and the others can be used.


This may differ regionally as it's not what I've been told by techs when donating blood in my area. But if I was told wrong, then maybe this comes down to a money thing more than a end-quantity thing. That would be interesting to learn. Maybe still just a discrimination thing like we're all thinking it could easily be.


Right, there's some break-even point where cost to test the batch equals out to the perceived loss of a batch quantity. If that's 10 samples, if it's 20, I'm not sure.


I loved donating blood. Then i was honest and said i was gay. The questions after were very uncomfortable Have you been to prison and did it happen there? No I’ve never been. Were you raped? No… Well, we can’t take your blood. Would it have mattered if I had been raped??? No, not really. Then *why ask?* Why bring that back for someone who maybe has been? Why be so.. gross about it?


Oh man, I got a relative who was told by a obgyn assistant her dumbass was still a virgin because strap-ons and dildos with her GF don’t count. Said the entire line of questioning was *super* uncomfortable for nothing


I’m gay and for the ban. It’s purely statistics based and the hard truth is gay men have a much higher chance of HIV due to being the group that has sex with men. Taking blood from our group is high risk, low reward. Don’t come at me either with “bLoOd iS tEsTed”, there is a window where an infection is undetectable but still present and there has been [cases](https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5941a3.htm) (thankfully rare) where people got HIV this way due to infected donors. Also don’t try and split hairs with “wElL mY pArTnEr aNd I aRe MoNoGoMoUs”. There’s no way to know for sure, hence the blanket ban. They’re also hot splitting hairs on what constitutes sex, hence the blanket ban. The ban isn’t because you’re gay either, lesbians can donate just fine. Men who have sex with men make up roughly 2%-4% of the population in the US but nearly 70% of all new HIV infection rates. It’s purely a numbers game to keep the blood supply as safe as possible, nothing more. (You can’t donate if you’ve been to certain countries either). Don’t like it? Encourage your friends to get on PrEP.


And the thing about people who need blood transfusions is they're already pretty sick.


Who would have thought….


I work in plasma and it’s actually a permanent rejection from us. BUT ITS NOT BECAUSE OF THE FDA. We sell our plasma world wide and it’s actually Europe that won’t allow us to accept there donations.


I noticed that when I went to donate blood. They had a section specifically for gay sex. The form was like, "Yeah, we know you've already said you haven't had sex, but have you had GAY sex????" I was a bit confused.


Ok cool, I'll keep my blood right we're it is then.




One thing to note, it's not tested individually. Blood is put together( I am not sure the quantity) and tested as a batch.


There is a window (under three months) where newly infected people are more likely to get false negatives.


It does seem silly because the majority of gay men do not have HIV, but the reason why they prohibit (other than just discriminatory laws from bygone eras) is because according to the [CDC 70% of new HIV cases in the US each year are among gay/bisexual men](https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/msm-content/incidence.html) While you are correct that they test the blood, you have to remember that taking the donation, bagging it, shipping it, and testing it, has a $ cost to it. That doesn't happen for free. So by excluding the highest risk group from donating, they will reduce their rejected sample rate. [WebMD says that about 20% of gay/bi men have HIV](https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/news/20100923/1-in-5-gay-bi-men-have-hiv-nearly-half-dont-know) So by rejecting gay/bi men from donating, while their total number of accepted donations will decrease, so will their reject rate. It seems silly but we do this in my industry as well. One machine superintendent was trying to push his machine as hard as possible to maximize tonnage. He sped up to 1650 tons a day instead of 1500. However overall machine performance suffered and even though he ended up with more tons, the increase in rejected product made it less profitable overall. The guy that ended up taking his job a year later slowed the machine down and his OME (operating machine efficiency) went up. Likewise there is always a chance that a test fails and a subpar product makes it past the quality lab and ends up at a customer. In my industry of paper making that isn't too bad, your customer just gets upset. In the blood donation world it could result in someone getting HIV


> WebMD says that about 20% of gay/bi men have HIV Worth noting this is only in 21 big cities. It is not a sample size of the entire population


You are correct, I probably could have searched harder for a more encompassing study but for the matters of this post took what google provided me quickly haha


> say the distinction is actually completely logical and had nothing to do with men being gay? And everything to do w Jesus. That is high!


You mean the say the distinction is actually completely logical and had nothing to do with men being gay? And everything to do with segregating a higher risk group of people when it comes to STD's? *shocked pikachu face*


Okay? And if I'm on PrEP, and take an HIV test every quarter, I probably know my STD status better than that of straight men. Likewise, if I'm in a monogamous relationship, and can prove that I don't have HIV with a recent test, why can't I give blood?


Oh! I know this one! Because in order to donate, you’d have to stop taking PrEP for three months, too!


The majority of new HIV infections happen in monogamous relationships. This idea that you can’t get infected in them is dangerous and likely a major contributor to the still rising HIV rates in gay men.


Do you have a source for this? I'm somewhat well-researched on HIV and have not heard this statistic.


https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/health/hiv-aids-men-monogamy-safe-sex/index.html Here you go! I was pretty surprised when I read it too.


Interesting! Thanks for the link. It makes sense when considering that the chances of contracting HIV from a positive person increase with every sexual encounter. The chances of contracting it from an HIV+ person after a single encounter are somewhat low (depending heavily on the type of sex), but these chances go up astronomically if you have multiple encounters with the same person.


You do know better about yourself, yes, but they cannot. There’s millions of potential donors like you who all have different stories, risks, relationships, testing habits, health education… They cannot go into the details and a do a complete sex life analysis of every single donor. They need quick and easy binary rules to exclude efficiently higher-risk groups, based on factual statistics, and that’s precisely what this rule about gay men does. From a health safety standpoint, it makes a lot of sense.


> according to the CDC 70% of new HIV cases in the US each year are among gay/bisexual men Sure, and the NYC HIV surveillance report notes that 91% of new HIV diagnoses in NYC are among black or latino people. But we don't tell them they can't donate blood because it's not good policy. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/dires/hiv-surveillance-annualreport-2020.pdf


Big difference between saying this percent of X people have Y versus saying out of everyone with Y this percent are X.


Tests can fail. There have actually been a handful of people infected by tainted blood transfusions in the past two decades. And yes, straight people can have “risky” sex. Despite that gay men are over 35x more likely to contract HIV than straight men or women.


It's all about risk and reward. There was a good reason to excluding gay men (not women, just menl fron donations back in the day. Which were a) more sexual partners b) lack of protection and c) anal sex. And since blood wasn't something that was missing in big amounts, the risk outweighed the benefits. Changing the rules made sense many years ago and as most things was slow to change. The wording is still wrong though. The UK stands correct on the matter in my humble opinion, anyone who has had anal sex with a new partner should wait at least 3 months.


Lots of “fuck blood banks” talk in here which is weird for organizations that exist only to help the most vulnerable people in society. Fuck “fuck blood banks” people


The Red Cross is a christian organization like Salvation Army with quite the controversial history throughout its time.


I tried to give blood a few years ago and was straight up denied because I mentioned that I performed oral on a guy in Highschool.. no sex and it wasn’t for long. But they just told me to get out, and they said that they were going to send all my info to other labs so I couldn’t try at other places if I tried. This was in Oklahoma.


Why wasn’t it for long? Are you that good Ryan?


Lmao no we almost got caught and his parents were super anti-gay so we stopped. We also stopped being friends after that.. ruined the friendship we had


This story is almost exactly how I got sent to christian school. Nosy ass little brothers and homophobic fucking rednecks.


It was a lifetime deferral up until a few years ago. In 2015 it moved to a 1 year deferral and in 2020 the FDA changed it to a 3 month deferral. In all likelihood in a few years we'll have moved to a system like the UK uses where the question is about new partners within a timeframe. We're well overdue for the change and it feels close.


Also applies to IV drug users


As a gay person and a nurse, honestly, I support their reason for not accepting homosexual men. The science and research is there. You can get upset and be offended, but it doesn’t make the statistics any less real.


I lived in the UK for one year in the early 90s. Still not allowed to donate blood as a result.






Tried to donate a few years back and was rejected because of my sexuality. I test regularly, practice safe sex, and only get intimate with long-term partners that also test negative. I'm safer and more STD conscious than most straight couples, but apparently that's not good enough.


Yell at the FDA bud not the blood bank


As a disclaimer- I have gay friends and I would be very upset if they were treated unfairly. That being said, I don’t think I understand the outrage here. If there is a higher risk of spreading HIV or other diseases due to this, how is this being discriminatory? Isn’t this just a public health measure? If someone does understand the health aspects and risks I am happy to listen, but facts not feelings people.


The real reason there is a shortage is because of omicron. There is a shortage of uninfected staffers, and there is a real fear people donating will catch Covid and miss out on work/travel for two weeks, if not worse consequences. Getting gay people to donate was long overdue, but it just seems insidious to throw them into the omicron soup like it matters less they catch Covid. They need to buy more air filter systems and insure donor safety and pay techs more than dirt cheap.


Asking since there seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people in here and google has given me mixed answers. Can a person, who has previously used illegal drugs via injection, donate blood? Is there a similar amount of deferral time like there is for gay men as the Red Cross views them as being higher risk? I’d assume a person who is actively using is off the table, or a person that has used recently, but what about long term sobriety say a couple years?


People still worried gay blood will turn them gay?🙄


Well data shows that MSM(male sex with male) is the dominant form of HIV transmission by sex. Male that engages in MSM poses a significantly higher risk of carrying HIV than male who does not engage in MSM.


It’s for a good reason.


The main risks for getting HIV through sex is a combination of anal sex (especially receiving) and number of partners. Men who have sex with men have anal sex at a much, much higher rate than heterosexual people, so even if a gay man is monogamous, they still (most likely) have the statistical risk factor of anal sex. **And remember this is all about statistics and an acceptable level of risk.** It is not saying that all gay men have anal sex (I recently learned about the term "side"...not a top or bottom), nor is it saying that all gay men have a lot of sexual partners. Just that we have to screen for blood donors based on some unfortunately coarse metrics. If we wanted no risks then we could not accept blood from anyone.


Guess they’re not that desperate for blood then.


Who wants aids bloods


I was a regular blood donor for a few years. Had a card and everything. Then they rejected me (female-bodied) for sleeping with a bisexual man.


My brother doesn’t bother saying he’s gay when donating blood because he knows they test the blood for HIV (since that’s why they won’t let gay men donate) anyway.


I also can’t give. I’m not gay but because I lived in Europe during mad cow. The guidelines seem pretty silly.


I would love to donate blood but I'm a man who has unprotected sex with my man partner so... maybe when you're done discriminating against me I'll give some blood. Till then, you did this yourself.


Yep. And I'm O-Negative, too. Universal donor. HIV-, have been married now for almost 18 years to the same partner, and I've never even had an STI. Fuck every single one of those blood banks that don't want my blood.