Download Des Moines Register 03-14-07 Blood-donor restrictions there for a reason

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Des Moines Register
Blood-donor restrictions there for a reason
Iowa State University fraternities and sororities did not support a blood drive
because gay men are prohibited from donating blood ("ISU's Greek Week Yanks
Its Support for Blood Drive," March 4). Before a person can donate blood, he or
she is asked an extensive list of questions regarding sexual activity, drug use,
illness and travel history.
There are many reasons why behavior in any of these categories puts a person's
blood at risk for carrying disease that can be transmitted to an unsuspecting
recipient. As a potential recipient of donated blood, I absolutely want these
questions asked of donors. This is not discrimination based upon social
acceptance of behavior; this is discrimination based upon behavior that puts
someone at risk for carrying a deadly disease.
- Dawn Martin,
Despite overwhelming epidemiological statistics to the contrary, some would
have us believe that the rule exempting gay men as eligible donors is rooted in
bigotry, a false argument.
Of the estimated 1 million Americans with HIV, 60 percent are gay men, and
another 25 percent are IV-drug users. Yet some are demanding the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration ignore years of scientific reasoning, and rethink the
prohibition on blood donations from gay men.
Curiously, IV-drug users are also banned from donating blood and blood
products, yet no one is championing their cause. One wonders if these protests
are intended more to curry favor with the gay lobby and score politicalcorrectness points than to bolster the national blood supply.
Protesters are advocating a solution to which there is no problem. Considering
the relatively small population of gay men in the United States, it's unlikely that
allowing them the chance to donate blood will have sufficient benefits to outweigh
the obvious risks.
- Robert Zeis Jr.,
Des Moines.