December 7, 2014

YOU WANT SCIENCE OR POLITICS?:

Why are blood donors asked their sexual history? (BBC Magazine, 12/04/14)

Although campaigners say they are enthusiastic about lifting the ban, they argue it does not go far enough. "Our goal is to eliminate sexual orientation from the deferral process and instead base the decision on an individual risk assessment," says Ryan James Yesak, founder of the US National Gay Blood Drive.

He says male or female donors should instead be asked if they have had receptive anal intercourse in the last year. But Dr Steven Kleinman, senior medical adviser to the American Association of Blood Banks, says who you have sex with is a better risk indicator than what you're doing with that person.

And in the US, he says, men who have sex with men make up the group in which HIV prevalence is highest. "Maybe the tool we use is crude - it's not a fine scalpel but more of a sledgehammer. But if we use a fine scalpel, we might miss some people."

Posted by at December 7, 2014 1:19 PM
  

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