Red Cross short of blood? WELL STOP REFUSING IT THEN

Rodney Croome mounts a very sensible appeal to the Red Cross to review its policies banning gay people from donating blood. Fundamentally, they are based on prejudice and myth rather than evidence:

The policy banning all sexually-active gay and bisexual men from blood donation was put in place at a time when we knew little about how HIV is transferred.

A quarter of a century later, we know that safe sex is an effective barrier to HIV. We also know that heterosexual people who have unsafe sex with multiple partners are at higher risk of HIV infection than gay men who do not.

In short, we know HIV is passed on through unsafe sex, not gay sex.

In other words, we’re excluding desperately needed good blood for no good reason and, to make matters worse, we’re apparently not actually tackling the most high-risk sources properly.

The other fairly disturbing aspect was how the Red Cross had fought to maintain its ban in the face of strong evidence that it was counterproductive:

It was precisely this myth that lawyers for the Red Cross appealed to when they declared during the Tasmanian case that gay monogamy is a myth, that all gay men are at high risk of HIV, and, to prove their point, deployed research focused specifically on a minority of high-risk gay men.

Amazingly, some gay men accept this stereotyping, although it is virtually the same as the now largely-forgotten stereotypes of black and Jewish men as sexually unrestrained health risks.

We know the myth is wrong. Wide-scale studies of sexuality in contemporary Australia have found roughly equivalent levels of monogamy in same and opposite-sex couples.

Fortunately, there will now be an independent review of the policy, which will hopefully lead to this fairly vital matter being determined on the evidence rather than damaging stereotypes and vacuous prejudice.

Because, even if you don’t care about equality for gay people, in a world where we are constantly short of blood donors, this is one area where homopobic prejudice actively hurts all of us.

ELSEWHERE: A roman catholic school fires lesbian for getting married (why are they so anti-marriage?) and Rodney’s expectations of what will happen in the next parliament in regards to the progression towards Australian marriage equality.

UPDATE: Clearly, to preserve the blood supply, we must ban a new high-risk group: English old people.

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45 responses to “Red Cross short of blood? WELL STOP REFUSING IT THEN

  1. You neglected to include in your attack on the Red Cross their blind and vacuous prejudice against injecting drug users, sex workers and the myriad other categories with a higher than normal statistical likelihood of donating infected blood. You should now show your disgust by declaring that you will not receive any blood transfusions should you need them in future.

    The more retarded members of the gay community have been attacking the Red Cross since the eighties when it first declined to take blood from sexually active gay men at a time when, by your own admission, the prevalence of HIV in the gay community was much higher then than it is now. In doing this those buffoons preferred their own vanity to the lives of the many haemophiliacs and others who died or who were infected with tainted blood.

    The fact is that about 80% of new infections are the result of male to male sex. More important than trends, however, is the over all prevalence of HIV. For so long as it is significantly more likely that gay men are infected with HIV, the Red Cross is entirely justified in including that category in its long list of other people who should not donate due to them having a statistically higher risk of donating infected blood .

    Reviewing the blood donation policy on scientific grounds is sensible, but the process should focus on the statistical infection rate in specific groups and should ignore completely the rantings of sick fucks pushing a murderous PC agenda.

  2. “injecting drug users, sex workers and the myriad other categories with a higher than normal statistical likelihood of donating infected blood.”

    Perhaps the Red Cross could concentrate its restrictions on actual dangerous behaviours rather than on categories of people. Perhaps it could refuse blood from people with more than x partners over the preceding 12 months. Or from those who had engaged in unsafe sex since last being screened for STDs.

    That would be a hell of a lot more accurate and not rule out perfectly safe donors. In what way is banning a gay couple in a long-term monogamous relationship from donating blood either necessary or constructive?

    “The fact is that about 80% of new infections are the result of male to male sex.”

    Source?

  3. Im curious if they accept donations from other potentially high risk sections of society?

    I’ve read that health care workers have a slightly higher rate of hep and HIV than the general population. I’d imagine police and security workers would be at a higher risk too.

  4. Source: Here.

    It is fundamental that PC bullshit is excluded as a relevant factor. The Red Cross, and the rest of us, are much better off adopting a ‘better safe than sorry’ policy and ignoring the PC bullshit.

    Dauncan you can look at the Red Cross site for information on donations.

  5. Croome (and Jeremy) are spot on in relation to this issue.

    The only sensible policy for the Red Cross to adopt is the exclusion of individuals who practice unsafe sex, or who have mutiple partners. Exclusion based on sexuality is an anacronism.

    It is retarded that I can donate despite maintaining multiple sexual partners in non-committed relationships, while a monogomous gay couple cannot.

  6. The only sensible policy for the Red Cross to adopt is the exclusion of individuals who practice unsafe sex, or who have mutiple partners. Exclusion based on sexuality is an anacronism

    This.

    Look at what’s already there:

    In the last 12 months have you engaged in sexual activity with someone who you think might answer yes to any of the questions on the following:
    the use of intravenous drugs, or
    infection with HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HTLV, or
    treatment with clotting factors?

    How does this not already catch gay men who have engaged in high-risk behaviour?

    Of course it’s “easy” to simply ban high-risk subcultures, rather than all high-risk activities, but if the Red Cross was really being fair about it, where is the ban on people who’ve had sex with Africans? After all, Africa has a far higher incidence of HIV than any subgroup in Australia, including gay men.

    Or is it okay to be homophobic, but not okay to be racist?

  7. I note SB completely ignored the points I made. I concede that he has figures that many new HIV transmissions appear to be between gay men, but there’s no breakdown of what the habits were in which those people engaged. Safe sex is not likely to lead to transmission. Unsafe sex, with multiple sexual partners plus drug use, is. There’s no reason the rules couldn’t exclude people engaging in the above behaviours without counterproductively ruling out people, gay or otherwise, who don’t.

    And well said, Mondo and Dezinerau.

  8. “The more retarded members of the gay community”

    It always flabbergasts me that otherwise sensible people still think it’s acceptable to use the word “retard” as a pejorative and think it isn’t hugely offensive to people who actually do have some form of mental disability in 2010. It isn’t. It’s offensive, lazy and disgusting.

    Jeremy, any chance you could have a policy banning the use of that word where it’s just being used to insult someone (And by extension insult anyone with an actual mental disability) and not in it’s proper usage?

  9. Splatterbottom

    It is truly sickening to see PC monomaniac whingers trying to dictate to the Red Cross how they should formulate policy on blood donations. As if people have some basic right to donate in the first place. This is not a due process issue. It is purely a vanity issue.

    It is the Red Cross that gets sued when its supplies get infected and it is the Red Cross’s call on what steps to take to prevent that happening. Grievance-mongering advocates should be excluded from this discussion. Any argument based on gay rights is completely fucking irrelevant. It is tremendous that the Red Cross ignored the fuckwits making similar arguments in the 80s. They should continue to be guided purely by considerations of public safety.

  10. It always flabbergasts me that otherwise sensible people still think it’s acceptable to use the word “retard” as a pejorative and think it isn’t hugely offensive to people who actually do have some form of mental disability.

    The word ‘retard’ is acceptable to me Keri, and I would wager there are many others who agree. There are plenty of us who found the ‘never go full retard’ scene in Tropic Thunder to be enormously amusing, and many others who think the Black Eyed Peas song Let’s get Retarded is a rip-roarer.

    In fact I was watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia just last night and had a good chuckle when Mack asked Charlie “Are you a retarded person?”

    I hope society resists the urge to ban the word. I understand that you find it offensive but I like it.

  11. Any argument based on gay rights is completely fucking irrelevant.

    What about arguments based on the premise that the Red Cross is missing out on good blood due to inflexible and archaic rules? You know, the argument actually being made here?

  12. Splatterbottom

    Keri, censorship is the last resort of the intellectually lazy. It is beyond stupid that our language is debased by special interest groups taking ownership of particular words and then insisting that no one else can use them without permission. I wish them ill and hope they die. I refuse to submit to their self-righteous bullshit.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Mondo: “What about arguments based on the premise that the Red Cross is missing out on good blood due to inflexible and archaic rules?”

    If they have an adequate supply of blood, this is not an issue is it? It is purely a matter for the Red Cross. Unlike advocacy groups they have to consider the public interest, and they are liable if they get it wrong.

  14. Whoops. By “activities” I mean “individuals”.

  15. If they have an adequate supply of blood, this is not an issue is it?

    Isn’t it generally accepted that the Red Cross always needs more blood

  16. You understand that it’s as pejorative as the word “faggot” or any other word that is used to put someone down by comparing them with another group they think of as sub-standard? You understand that for many people who have relatives who are intellectually disabled, hearing them being compared to someone you despise is hugely offensive and hurtful?

    But of course, your right to be offensive and use lazy language is paramount. Far be it from me to point out that people who have grown up seeing their loved ones denigrated at every turn find it hurtful and offensive and try and stop one more way of you classifying them as inferior and using that as a way of insulting people you don’t agree with. That’s FAR more important, isn’t it. And we all know there’s such a shortage of words you could use, as well!

    Mondo, some people wouldn’t find it offensive to be called a nigger. That doesn’t make it okay to call anyone that name. We’re talking about people who are already fighting huge amounts of stigma. Would it kill you to try and not add to it?

  17. “I wish them ill and hope they die. I refuse to submit to their self-righteous bullshit.”

    I’ll pass that on to my uncle with Downs Syndrome, you hateful piece of shit.

  18. Splatterbottom

    Keri, you should worry more about people who actually denigrate your relatives, rather than taking offence when you well knew I had no intention of denigrating anyone other then the group of tossers who were the subject of my remarks.

    It is perfectly open to you to take from the context of my remarks the meaning I clearly intended. It is deeply offensive to instead decide that my words are a personal attack on your relative.

    I suppose when I refer to leftists as ‘malignant’ or ‘cancerous’ I am attacking some other friend or relative of yours? The fact is that words have many meanings and to arbitrarily choose one of those meanings so you can get on your high horse and lecture me is ignorant, lazy and contemptible.

  19. Everybody calm the hell down. This post is about blood donation policies, not people finding certain words offensive.

  20. I see SB is back from yesterday’s unfortunate incident of agreement…

  21. Splatterbottom

    Being offended is just stuff white people like doing. 🙂

  22. Jaysus, Splatterbottom, I realise you hate everyone even mildly different from you, but do you need to make it so obvious?

    Anyway, your argument is nonsensical. As someone else pointed out above- African men have a substantially higher risk of being HIV-positive. Why not ban all African folk from donating blood? By your logic, that makes perfect sense.

  23. Splatterbottom

    B, I don’t hate anyone, but I think one should use unambiguous expressions for the purpose of highlighting the issues in contention.

    Unlike some here, I am prepared to leave these decisions for the Red Cross to consider rather than acting as part of an unformed agenda-driven commentariat. I certainly wouldn’t criticise the Red Cross without knowing the relevant facts or the methodology they apply to get to a decision. I do note that they have excluded people who have resided in England at certain times.

  24. I suppose when I refer to leftists as ‘malignant’ or ‘cancerous’ I am attacking some other friend or relative of yours?

    Actually, SB, you’re attacking us since most people here self-identify as leftists!!

    Anyway I’m disappointed that we’re shutting down the ‘retard’ discussion. I think there’s an interesting distinction between words like ‘nigger’ and ‘faggot’ (which are derogatory by definition) and ‘retarded’ which is not derogatory by definition, but which is when applied to someone who is not actually retarded. I think a better analogy is the word ‘gay’, which is regularly used in the same way.

    But I’m well off-topic, and I accept that others probably don’t find this as fascinating as I do (or, alternatively, are just grossly offended).

  25. The independent review should at least see whether there’s any sane medical/scientific reason to retain a blanket exclusion on the basis of sexuality.

    I doubt it, given that the sexual activity risk factor is already covered in the questionnaire and it’s hard to track people who don’t self identify as we don’t do the wearing pink triangles thing any more. Hopefully they’ll keep the ban on UK citizens though. Sick fucks with their PC pro-British agenda. I don’t want them contaminating MY blood supply.

  26. redravens, you don’t even need to be a UK citizen to be banned. You just have to have been in the UK for a defined period in the early 90’s for them to snub you. MadCow disease you know.

    I know. I was there and they won’t have my blood.

    Another group for SB to loathe…

  27. Mondo, I agree. I think we need to be very careful about how our language is policed and who is policing it.

    But, as you say, way off topic and it’s Jeremy’s gig.

  28. Sadly we have here a flock of vampires trying to tell the Red Cross how to take blood. However, the Red Cross is concerned with public safety whereas the vampires have a another motive entirely. While vampires can be very alluring, but they have no business trying to subvert the public good with their political agenda.

    Mondo: “you’re attacking us since most people here self-identify as leftists”.

    Not all leftists are malignant, in fact many of them are quite benign. It is not every day you encounter a thinking leftist as sometimes happens here here.

  29. SB – your responses here are, quite simply, non-sequiturs.

    The argument that has been made by all other commentators here is that more useful blood could be safely obtained if the Red Cross allowed gay men to donate. Did you notice the title of Lefty’s post – it’s a dead giveaway?

    Nobody here has put forward an argument based on gay rights or equality – commenters are offering persuasive evidence that a simple adjustment to Red Cross rules would result in more viable blood being available without any increase in risk.

    You only appear able to refute this position by ignoring what people are actually saying and pretending that they’re really arguing something else. It should go without saying that this is a particularly unconvincing effort on your part.

  30. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, it is a little mischievous, not to say dishonest, to pretend that some people with relevant expertise have made a detailed study of all of the Red Cross policies on blood donation and decided that for the common good this one category needs to be amended. The funny thing is that this is the only change they are interested in suggesting!

    In fact this argument is driven by activists with an agenda, and whose interest in public safety is merely incidental. Previously, in the 1980s, gay activists attacked the Red Cross and thankfully they were ignored.

    This issue should be decided not by offended victim-mongers or stinking idiot hypocrites with an agenda. If for one second the decision makers listen to these unctuous fools they will be failing in their duty to the public. There are only two rules for looking at this issue:
    1. Keep those with an agenda of political correctness out of the discussion
    2. Err on the side of caution.

    This is not about some basic human right, or about equal rights under the law. No one has a right to donate blood. Pathetically a bunch of loathsome maggots think they should be able to dictate policy to the Red Cross. They have no expertise to bring to bear on the matter other than their own pathetic hypersensitivity. As such they should be condemned for trying to interfere in public health matters. They are a menace to society.

  31. Clearly, to preserve the blood supply, we must ban a new high-risk group: older English people.

    SB, you’re being a deliberately disingenuous idiot. We’re talking about improving the apparently struggling blood supply by not ruling out perfectly good sources of blood. This can obviously be achieved without including those engaging in high-risk behaviours.

    “This is not about some basic human right, or about equal rights under the law. No one has a right to donate blood. “

    How many times does it have to be pointed out to you that no-one here is arguing that?

  32. In fact this argument is driven by activists with an agenda, and whose interest in public safety is merely incidental.

    I see.

    In other words you refuse to accept the actual arguments being made for a relaxation of the blood donation rules, preferring instead to respond to a strawman argument of your own creation.

    Your ideological hatreds are making you irrational.

  33. Splatterbottom

    My proposition is simple: this latest attack on the Red Cross is being driven by political correctness. I say leave issues of balancing the amount of blood donations with the appropriate exclusions to people expert in that field. The Red Cross should act only on the advice of disinterested experts. Gay rights activists should fuck off out of this discussion and confine their meddling to areas that do not put the public at risk. I am sickened by the possibility that the Red Cross would give any weight to professional whiners rather than to relevant experts.

  34. I donate blood and always wonder why the question isn’t just about unsafe sex in general. Do they have evidence that male-to-male sex with condoms transmits AIDS?

    995 new infections in 2008. That’s less than 0.005% of the population. Not hard for such a statistically small number to skewed by a particular group.

  35. AU: “Do they have evidence that male-to-male sex with condoms transmits AIDS?”

    Obviously you’ve never had that sinking feeling when a condom bursts in your rectum during the vinegar strokes.

    Further that is not the real question. The question is whether the Red Cross has made rules for the protection of the public. I prefer that this issue is decided by experts who have public safety as their goal, not by publicity-seeking barrow-pushing monomaniacs who advocate greater risks be taken purely because it makes them feel good about themselves.

    And don’t give me that bullshit about how this is all about ensuring an adequate blood supply. First show me that the more people have died from inadequate blood supplies than from infected blood. Then show me that the harpies harping on about this have done anything other than focus on their political objectives. If they were serious about increasing blood donations then they would be making suggestions in respect of all sorts of categories instead of trying to push their own political barrow at the expense of public health.

  36. My proposition is simple: this latest attack on the Red Cross is being driven by political correctness.

    No shit Sherlock.

    You are happy to completely ignore the substance of the argument and instead embrace a reaction based entirely on your assumptions about what motivates the participants. In other words you’ve engineered an intellectual rationale for completely dismissing the arguments of people that you don’t like.

    It’s irrational – but it’s hardly a new phenomenon where you’re concerned.

  37. Mondo: “You are happy to completely ignore the substance of the argument “

    The argument has no substance! No one has even demonstrated that their is a shortage of blood donations, much less that anyone has died from this alleged shortage. Every now and then the Red Cross announces that it is short of a particular type of blood and then sufficient volunteers come forward. Now complete hypocrites have come up with a fig-leaf of an argument to cloak their pathetically self-interested agenda.

    “In other words you’ve engineered an intellectual rationale for completely dismissing the arguments of people that you don’t like.”

    I don’t like their behviour on this issue purely because in this case they believe their political agenda should trump decisions made on public health grounds by people more expert and more interested in the general public than themselves. You well know that I generally support gay rights, but this is not about any rights at all. It is all about hypersensitivity and political posturing.

    It is masturbatory madness to take additional risks for no public benefit. This non-issue does not require the ‘hands on’ approach adopted by so many here. The decision should be left to dispassionate experts who have responsibility for such decisions, and legal liability if they get them wrong. The wanking commentariat should shut the fuck up and keep their sticky hands to themselves.

  38. Of course there is a shotage of Goddamn blood- the Red Cross is constantly down to critical levels. They run television ads! They send buses to campuses! Even if they weren’t, blood is something that needs constant replenishment. People do get injured or sick, you know.

    …people more expert and more interested in the general public than themselves.

    EXCEPT that the point raised here is that those people have been demonstrated to be ignorant, not expert, and more interested in standing alongside Fred Phelps than working for the public good.

  39. Splatterbottom

    EXCEPT that the point raised here is that those people have been demonstrated to be ignorant, not expert, and more interested in standing alongside Fred Phelps than working for the public good.

    Only in the minds if ignorant axe-grinders. As a potential transfussee, I do not want Rodney Croome and and his whining ilk deciding how to protect the blood bank. These catawauling cassandras should shove their ignorant prophesies and let the experts get on with the job. I know who i trust on these matters.

  40. The argument has no substance!

    Stop being such an idiot SB. The Red Cross needs blood, there is good blood in the community that can be safely donated, and thus the Red Cross would benefit by reviewing their rules to find a way to access it.

    The argument is clear, simple and straightforward. Your rejection of it is hysterical, irrational and based solely on your prejudices.

  41. Splatterbottom

    So this argument is all about getting more blood and has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with gay activisjm? It is just a dispassionate examination of all possible sources of additional blood which miraculously can only come up with one new source?

    The fact is that the alleged need for new sources of blood donation propounded here is a mere afterthought, a fig-leaf for more activist whining. I am usually sceptical of vain selfish monomaniacs who hijack public discussion to twist it to their own ends. But their meddling reaches the point of insanity when in their outraged ignorance they try to tamper with public health.

    The fanatics with their twisted agendas and monochrome minds should fuck off out of this discussion and redirect their prattling activism to some issue that doesn’t put public health at risk.

  42. So this argument is all about getting more blood and has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with gay activism?

    I have no idea – although I assume that gay activism was part of what motivated Mr Croome to look into this issue. It should go without saying though that the author’s motvation is irrelevant to the individual merits of his argument.

    The fact is that the alleged need for new sources of blood donation propounded here is a mere afterthought, a fig-leaf for more activist whining.

    You’re probably right – but again that’s irrelevant. If there is individual merit to the case being put then it doesn’t matter whether it is the by-product of a completely different endeavor. There are many examples throughout history of good results occuring in spite of the self-interested motives of those advocating for change.

    In fact that’s pretty much the only justification left for those who wish to defend the Iraq war these days.

  43. Splatterbottom

    I’m not sure that the outcome in Iraq is good!

    On the other issue, there is really no problem to solve. The Red Cross doesn’t appear to be desperate for new sources of donation. the only people claiming this are really pursuing another agenda. I would prefer that the Red Cross address this issue in the normal course of reviewing their policies on the basis of disinterested advice, not because they succumb to be berated by a bunch of whining shits. If they do the latter they are betraying the public they serve.

  44. The Red Cross doesn’t appear to be desperate for new sources of donation. the only people claiming this are really pursuing another agenda.

    If you visit the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website right now the main page states in big bold red letters that: “O and A blood levels are currently low.”

    So you’re wrong SB – plain and simple.

  45. My question was a valid question, in the context of the number of new cases every year. The Red Cross material does not address the issue of safe-sex in general.

    I am a big believer in donating blood. It saves lives. But this is a frustrating matter. Their website doesn’t go into enough detail on the reasons for rejecting certain people’s blood.

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