France is one of only a handful of countries finally stepping out of the overblown AIDs epidemic of the 1980’s, to finally allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood without restriction. This is one ban that I understood in the 1980’s when the AID’s epidemic was underway, causing many people to fear. And since HIV was connected to being gay, it makes sense to cover your bases at a time when testing was expensive and technology just was not as good.
But this is 2015, and all blood donations are tested for a variety of ailments. According to the American Redcross:
- ABO and Rh blood types.
- Unexpected red blood cell antibodies that are a result of prior transfusion, pregnancy, or other factors.
- Hepatitis B surface antigen, indicating a current infection (hepatitis) or carrier state for hepatitis B virus.
- Antibody to hepatitis B core antigen, indicator of a present or past infection with the hepatitis B virus.
- Antibody to hepatitis C virus, indicating a current or past infection with hepatitis C virus (most common cause of non-A/non-B hepatitis).
- Antibody to HTLV-I/II, indicator of infection with a virus that may cause adult T-cell leukemia or neurological disease.
- Antibody to HIV-1/2, indicator of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) for hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV.
- Screening test for antibodies to syphilis.
- NAT for West Nile Virus (WNV).
- Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) test for Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas Disease).
Red Cross says that their blood is tested for HIV, so it really does not make sense for them to ban the over 80% of gay men who don’t have HIV.
Now that is not to say that gay men CAN’T give blood, but they are barred from doing so in many instances. For instance, gay men in Canada can give blood… if they don’t have sex with a man for 5 years. America has just lowered the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood as well… if they don’t have sex with a man for a whole year. I have no clue why, as AIDs does not vanish after one year. Redcross said in a statement earlier in 2015 that it was against the blood ban altogether.
It is nice to see that countries are going into the 21st century, including Argentina, who has just lifted the ban on gay blood donations as of September of 2015. With the amount of blood transfusions needed, it is good to know that more people are now able to donate to help save lives, regardless of their sexuality.