1. Scott7217's Avatar
    There was some controversy over the FDA's rules on organ donations after the eyes of a gay teen who committed suicide were rejected.

    After suicide, gay teen’s eye donation rejected -- The Washington Post (article link here)

    Alexander Betts Jr. committed suicide at 16 after being bullied. His liver, lungs, kidneys, and heart were donated, but his eyes were rejected because there was no way to prove that he did not have sex with men in the past 5 years.

    The FDA is stricter with regards to blood donations. The FDA believes there is a greater risk of transmitting infectious disease, such as HIV, through blood from men who have had sex with other men. These men cannot donate blood.

    However, men who have sex with HIV-positive women or sex workers only have a 1 year ban on donating blood.

    Does the FDA policy on organ and blood donation make sense?
    09-08-2014 04:17 PM
  2. anon8126715's Avatar
    I'm not sure I understand the article, or at least your explanation of it. His liver, lungs, kidneys, AND heart were donated, but for the reason you cited, his eyes were rejected? Wouldn't his other organs be subject to the same discrimination that his eyes were subject to? Something doesn't sound right. Either all his organs should be rejected for the FDA's discrimination or none of them should be rejected. Also, if we're talking about a matter of life and death for someone waiting for an organ donor, wouldn't a simple blood test of the donor be enough to test for any disease, including HIV? You can't tell me that we don't have testing that's quick enough and accurate enough to ensure the organs are utilized as quickly as possible.
    09-09-2014 06:11 AM
  3. Mooncatt's Avatar
    I was talking to my mate that has taken some medical courses and she was saying that the HIV test itself only takes a few hours. The problem is you can be infected but test negative. The standard testing after a possible exposure is 30, 60, 90 days, and 6 months. There have been documented cases where someone tested negative as long as 1.5 years after exposure but was infected. Some tests, like for bacterial infections take up to two weeks because you have to grow a culture out to see what may be present.

    So it makes sense to disallow donations if there is possible exposure to something like HIV because there is no quick and simple test that can guarantee that someone is free of the virus. I'm also a little confused about the article, but sounds like the rule is a hold over from the initial HIV scare that was made in haste/panic before they knew what we now know. Sounds like it's something that needs updating, but hasn't been addressed simply because there wasn't any attention drawn to it.
    09-09-2014 08:51 PM
  4. GadgetGator's Avatar
    This policy is stupid for a number of reasons. First, because anyone can be HIV+. So infected heterosexuals could be passing things on.

    Secondly, unless it's a friend or family member mentioning something, no one would know that person was gay or had slept with men. I could go donate blood right now and they'd be none the wiser that I was a gay man. They are relying on word of mouth honesty here, and that's far from foolproof for obvious reasons.

    Third, not all gay men are HIV+. Plenty of us aren't. Why reject otherwise usable blood over a flawed honor system blanket policy?

    Posted via Android Central App
    09-10-2014 05:18 PM
  5. Scott7217's Avatar
    Why reject otherwise usable blood over a flawed honor system blanket policy?
    It appears the FDA has adjusted its stance on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

    NY Times -- F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood (article link here)

    Excepts:

    "The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a major stride toward ending what many had seen as a national policy of discrimination.

    However, the agency will continue to ban men who have had sex with a man in the last year, saying the barrier is necessary to keep the blood supply safe, a move that frustrated rights groups that were pushing for the ban to be removed entirely."
    12-24-2014 01:39 AM
  6. GadgetGator's Avatar
    It appears the FDA has adjusted its stance on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

    NY Times -- F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood (article link here)

    Excepts:

    "The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a major stride toward ending what many had seen as a national policy of discrimination.

    However, the agency will continue to ban men who have had sex with a man in the last year, saying the barrier is necessary to keep the blood supply safe, a move that frustrated rights groups that were pushing for the ban to be removed entirely."
    Which is still stupid for the above reasons I listed. They are still relying on people's honesty. And not holding heterosexuals to the same standard.

    Posted via Android Central App
    01-05-2015 05:46 PM
  7. SteveISU's Avatar
    Who gives a rip if the donor is gay or hetero, blood is blood and a liver is a liver. All blood is screened and thoroughly tested anyway.
    01-06-2015 05:21 PM
  8. Scott7217's Avatar
    Which is still stupid for the above reasons I listed. They are still relying on people's honesty. And not holding heterosexuals to the same standard.
    Still, it is some progress. Plus, the decision is consistent with the scientific evidence the FDA has on hand and what other countries do with their blood supply.

    From the article:

    "In written remarks, the agency said it was keeping the 12-month ban because 'compelling scientific evidence is not available at this time to support a change to a deferral period less than one year while still ensuring the safety of the blood supply.'

    The shift puts the United States on par with many European countries, including Britain, which adjusted its lifetime ban in favor of a 12-month restriction in 2011."
    01-07-2015 12:56 PM

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