Why can't gay men donate blood in the UK when they are able to donate organs? Here's the reasoning.
Ok, so let me get this right... apparently it's about discriminating against the sexual act, even if it was oral sex and it happened once, not against the population group. Yet there is no exclusion recommended for women who have ever had sex with a man who has ever had sex with man. If it’s only based on sexual activity, this population group of women must carry the same risks as the excluded group.
It isn’t about individuals and their sexual activity because this exclusion is recommended on the basis of epidemiological research at a population level, therefore it does discriminate against individuals (even if the intention behind it is worthy). It doesn't consider variation within the population group some of who will be zero-risk takers and others extreme-risk takers with the majority somewhere between.
But that’s a more complicated message to convey and the Blood Transfusion Service only has a limited resource to do it, but the BTS should at least be honest. Say that this will discriminate and scapegoat individuals but we believe it’s in the common good to do so. The gay community should be able to cope with that, what is difficult to cope with is avoiding the issues and dressing them up in anti-discrimination terminology.
You make some good points. Something I'd not really thought about before.
Ultimately, it's about responsible self-exclusion/inclusion, isn't it?
For example, I recall one occasion when I was asked whether I had ever been to New York, which at the time was a ground for exclusion. I had recently returned from a visit, with my mother, staying with my aunt, and I led a more chaste life in that three weeks than at any other time in my entire post-pubescent existence. I made the decision, knowing that HIV etc are not air-borne, that that exclusion actually didn't apply to me.
I know from conversations with female friends and other observations that many 'respectable' straight women have multiple instances of unsafe sex in less-than-permanent relationships, yet very few 'respectable' women have HIV tests, except after sexual assault or work-based contact (eg health staff), so, to my mind, there is an evidential flaw in the assumptions about prevalence. I suppose a lot of women get picked up in antenatal settings, but I think the majority of women blood donors have probably not been to antenatal ever, or recently.
I use 'respectable' as clumsy shorthand for women - such as myself and most friends - who don't (knowingly) fall into the stated high-risk categories.