Sex and the Ivy

Plasma for the Taking

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle September 27, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

I’m really frustrated because I haven’t donated blood in almost a year. As a freshman, I donated four times in ten months, pretty much the maximum. But ever since getting pierced (ear cartilage) last November, I stopped being able to go. The wait time is supposed to be a year but soon after that, I got tattooed (left pelvis) in January and pierced again (navel, right nipple) this August. I have a long time to go before I can donate again.

I was complaining to JB about this while in class yesterday morning. His response? “Well, I can’t donate ever.” I suppose that puts things in perspective. At some point, enough time following my tattoo/piercings will have passed for my blood to be deemed safe. But homosexuality isn’t really something that fades with time. Ignorance does, though. Here’s to hoping.

In other news, this weekend is going to be ridiculous. I will either be getting a lot of action or none at all. I will either be getting totally fucked up or not at all. We’ll see which extreme it is.

8 Responses to “Plasma for the Taking”

  1. Karl Says:

    I don’t think just because you’re gay you’re automatically banned from giving blood forever. There’s a series of questions they ask when you go to give blood in order to determine your risk of carrying not only HIV/AIDS but a number of other illnesses. Just because you fall into a high risk category doesn’t necessarily mean that you carry any of those diseases. Hell, they even try to find out if you’re at risk for carrying Mad Cow disease.

  2. Patrick Quinn Says:


    If you are a male that has ever had sex with a male, protected or not, you can *never* donate blood. They won’t even screen it - you are allowed to actually have the blood taken, but when it reaches processing they will (quite literally) just toss it away without screening it.

    So yes, you are automatically banned forever, because all of us fags have HIV/AIDS. *sigh*

  3. Karl Says:

    This is from the American Red Cross website:

    ” You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

    You are at risk for getting infected if you:

    * have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
    * are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
    * have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
    * have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
    * received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia
    * were born in, or lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea,Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria, since 1977.
    * since 1977, received a blood transfusion or medical treatment with a blood product in any of these countries, or
    * had sex with anyone who, since 1977, was born in or lived in any of these countries. Learn more about HIV Group O, and the specific African countries where it is found.”

    Again, it doesn’t say you cannot, it says “you should not.”

    Also from the Red Cross website: “If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate. Those who have a blood relative who had Creutzfeld-Jacob disease are also not eligible to donate.”

    So it makes it quite clear in the eligibility guidelines between those who can give blood and should not (which also includes people who have a fever and/or productive cough) and those who are unable to ever give blood.

    The point I’m attempting to make is that the Red Cross isn’t being prejudice, it’s just trying to use the best possible screening methods it currently has. Not everyone born in Gabon in 1978 has AIDS, but statistics show that there’s the high probability that they could (emphasis on could) so that’s why that question is in there, not because the Red Cross is racist.

    Also how is letting them take your blood not the same as donating your blood? I mean you are giving it away, right?

    Blood Donation Eligibility Guidelines-,1082,0_557_,00.html

  4. Patrick Quinn Says:

    You seem to be missing the fact that “should not” DOES INDEED mean “cannot”.

    Don’t explain the nature of these guidelines to me like I’m an idiot - these were formed in the 80’s, when the AIDS scare was at its height and every gay male was presumed to have AIDS.

    (The difference between letting them take blood and donating blood is if they take my blood, they will just throw it out instead of using it to help someone. )

    Sorry to hijack your blog Lena. :)

  5. Karl Says:

    “Should” and “can” do not mean the same thing. “Can” means “to have the ability.” If someone cannot give blood then it is beyond the realm of possibility for them to accomplish this task. I think we have established that people who are at a high risk of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus (which, I’ll point out again, is not exclusive to men who have had sex with other men), for the most part, have the ability to give blood. “Should” is most commonly used as the past tense of the verb “shall” meaning “to plan or intend.” I will concede that “should” is used in imperative form in the guidelines, meaning that those at high risk must not give blood. But this begs the question as to why the language concerning those with dura mater transplants explicitly states they are ineligible. Why not use the same language for those who fall into the HIV/AIDS risk category, presumably a higher percentage of the population than those who have had brain surgery.

    I suspect the answer is found in the second sentence of the article you cited. The one that ends “more than a year after the Red Cross and two other blood groups criticized the policy as ‘medically and scientifically unwarranted.’” The FDA is saying they won’t take the blood, the Red Cross is saying they would if not for an outdated policy. In fact further on the article says that the Red Cross proposed a one year donation probation period for men who have had sex with other men.

    Also, just out of curiosity, when they “(quite literally) just toss it away without screening it” where do they toss it out? Where is this giant dumpster of discarded blood? Does one need some sort of passkey to access it?

    I will agree with you and Lena that men who have had sex with other men are banned from giving blood. But my original point still stands, which is that they have this restriction in place because they fall into a high risk group. Is the ban excessive? Yes, of course. But it’s in place because of years of scientific study and research, not because of some discriminatory and arbitrary policy.

  6. Patrick Quinn Says:

    Your original, opening statement was “I don’t think just because you’re gay you’re automatically banned from giving blood forever.”

    I’ve linked you to an article that’s TITLE is “Banned for life: Gay men still can’t donate blood”. I don’t really know what point you are trying to prove - because that original statement was the only one of yours I had a problem with, and I have proven it wrong.

    As for throwing out the blood, I was actually told when I went to donate blood that they would take the blood, but that it would be thrown away without even being screened. This is from one of the Red Cross nurses.

    Sorry again, Lena. I’m finished.

  7. Karl Says:

    My point is this:
    Gay does not equal AIDS.
    One man having sex with another man equals high probability of being exposed to HIV/AIDS.
    Therefore, the Red Cross is implementing a policy grounded in science, not ignorance.

    I also don’t think we have any reason to apologize for having a healthy debate. In fact, I believe we’ve set a new record for longest post on this website which does not include any insults directed at Lena.

  8. byrd Says:

    I used to have a nipple pierced…I’ve been thinking of re-doing it lately, kind of a secret bad ass thing lol

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