Saturday, March 12, 2011

The FDA Is Sexist

It's strange, missing having a boyfriend, though I'm no stranger to the feeling. It's such a different experience than having a girlfriend, though there is one downside.

If I have sex with a guy, I'll no longer be able to donate blood, and yes, that really would be a terrible thing. The US is one of the few countries where men who have sex with other men are indefinitely deferred from donating blood, because they are considered a high-risk group. Nonetheless, a woman who has sex with a man who has had sex with men is only deferred from donating for a year. Now how is that fair?

On top of that, transsexuals are allowed to donate blood as long as they don't have sex with men while they're male, but if they have sex with men while they're female, that's fine. And women having sex with women isn't even considered a risk.

I do understand how men who have sex with other men can be at greater risk for HIV, AIDS, and other sexually-transmitted diseases, but with the knowledge that is available in today's world, they are becoming less and less so, especially with the availability and ease of being tested.

There is a window period after being exposed to HIV of six months when the host will test negative for the infection, and yet, after that period, if they continue to test negative, they are not at risk, neither as a carrier, nor as infected. This is why women who have sex with men who have sex with men are deferred for a year.

So why are men deferred indefinitely?

There is a blood shortage in the United States, and yet the FDA has seen no pressing need to revise this policy. If I know I'm clean, and I know that it can't be proved either way, why should I tell the center?

My blood will be rigorously tested before it is given to any recipients, and if there's a problem with it, they'll let me know. Until then, let's let ignorance be bliss, and I'll keep donating blood, regardless whether or not I find a boyfriend and we decide to have sex.