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Interesting Question.
Feb 5, 2001

Is the Window Period the same for a gay man as opposed to a straight man? (6 months). Then why does it matter for the blood supply, (men sex with men). If a gay man passes the 6 month window period is it the same as a straight man? I am a little confused about this topic and wish you could clarify it.

Response from Mr. Kull

Your question speaks to an important movement among gay rights activists to repeal a discriminatory policy of the Red Cross that excludes gay men/men who have sex with men from donating blood. The Red Cross recently reviewed its guidelines in a wave of political pressure and decided to continue to exclude men who have sex with men from donating blood to a blood supply in crisis.

The window period is not affected by sexual orientation. The Red Cross argues that the high prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men could endanger the blood supply if they donate blood. So, if that's true (which a lot of evidence says it's not), why not allow MSMs to donate blood after the window period has elapsed since their last exposure? Others are allowed to donate blood a year after a high risk heterosexual exposure. Is the word of a heterosexual man better than the word of a gay man? This is where the Red Cross loses credibility.

Sounds like good, old fashion discrimination to me.

RMK



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