Politics play role as population has much higher incidence of AIDS, Hepatitis C infections

Homosexual activists, with support from the blood banking community, appear to be winning their campaign to scrap the three-decade-old FDA rule barring men who have sex with other men (MSM) from donating blood.

The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommended, in a 16-2 vote last month, that the FDA abandon its current policy and allow men who have sex with men to donate blood if they say they have had no sexual contact with a man for one year.

Another FDA panel, the Blood Products Advisory Committee, meets Tuesday to weigh in on the 
disputed policy. The FDA has not announced when it will announce any change to the ban on blood from MSM, first implemented in 1985 after tens of thousands of blood transfusion recipients became infected from contaminated blood. The hemophiliac community was especially hard hit in the 1980s, with more than 10,000 people infected with HIV or Hepatitis C, and many dying as a result.

“Over 50 percent of the people with hemophilia were infected with HIV and 90 percent were infected with Hepatitis C,” said John Indence, vice president for marketing and communications at the National Hemophilia Foundation.

“We are completely for anything that will increase the safety of the blood supply here in the United States,” Indence said. “We just believe that it needs to be based on science and not a political decision.”

Selfish agenda

“It’s all about politics,” charges Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, a group devoted to exposing the homosexual agenda. “It’s all about [homosexuals’] own selfish need to be affirmed in an immoral and dangerous lifestyle.”

Advocates of altering the current policy can look to a study from Australia, which found no increased risk for HIV infections resulted from a one-year deferral policy in which male blood donors must wait 12 months to give blood after having sex with a man.

Another scientific factor driving the proposed change is the advent of nucleic acid testing (NAT), a highly accurate method of detecting HIV in blood. NAT has helped reduce the HIV risk from a unit of donated blood to just one in two million.

But advanced testing methods, such as NAT, have their limitations, and do not address new blood-borne diseases that may emerge, much as HIV did in the U.S. in the late 1970s. A 2013 article in the journal Blood Transfusion asserts that a “residual risk still remains concerning pathogens for which no detection system currently exists (e.g. emerging pathogens) or which have a ‘window period,’ when blood levels of specific disease markers are too low for detection, e.g. shortly after infection. Nucleic acid testing has markedly reduced, but not completely eliminated this period.”

And science is far from the only consideration in the debate. Homosexual groups and their allies also argue that the MSM exclusion is unfair discrimination.

American Medical Association board member Dr. William Kobler labeled the lifetime deferral “discriminatory and not based on sound science” in 2013 when the AMA came out against the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men.

Written by John Aman
Read more at WND


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