Homosexuals and Blood Donation

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Homosexuals and Blood Donation Introduction For the past 3 decades, homosexual men, or MSM’s (men who have sex with men), have been banned from donating blood in a number of countries. This has been an ongoing issue since the 1980’s AIDS epidemic, when it was “determined” that homosexuals were more likely to be affected. This is not necessarily true, and is a very prominent form of bigotry in today’s society. Homosexuality does not define a person, therefore people who live their lives in this way should not be denied the same opportunities as everyone else. Why They Are Not Allowed Since the 1980’s, gay men have been banned from donating blood due to the belief that they are more likely to be affected by HIV/ AIDS. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “in 2008, the MSM (men who have sex with men) exposure category continued to account for the largest proportion of positive HIV test reports among adults, representing 45.1% (557) of positive tests reported” (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011). Along with this, they represented 44% of new infections, and 19% of the affected group were unaware of their infection. Because of this, the governments of more than 25 countries have placed bans on men who have had sex with other men in certain time frames, ranging from 1-36 years, with some stating that if they have had sex with other men at all in their lives, they are ineligible. However, the main cause of HIV in gay men is not solely having sex with other men, but rather UNPROTECTED sex with an HIV positive partner. Upon discovering this, “many gay men have changed their behaviour to avoid unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners or with those whose HIV status is unknown to them” (Canadian AIDS Society, 2012). Assuming that every gay man has had unprotected sex with another man is misguided and wrong. A large number of

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