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Mar 27, 2002

I recently went to donate blood. As I answering the questionaire I remembered experimenting with a gay man about 4 months ago. We did not engage in anal sex and he performed oral on me only. But we did some heavy petting, deep kissing, mutual masterbation our genitals got rubbed together. He also ejaculated on my stomach which I wiped off immediately with paper towel. The questionaire said sex with a gay man. Even though we didn't have anal nor did I perform oral on him is this considered sex? Please help I don't know what to do. It was embaressing enough to make an excuse to leave before I donated. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Kull

The Red Cross states that if you are a male, and had sex even once with another male since 1977, then you should not donate blood. It is not clear how the Red Cross defines sex, but it probably could be characterized as any intimate acitivity with another person that involves or potentially involves an exchange of bodily fluids (semen, blood, vaginal secretions). Oral sex, either receptive or insertive, most definitely falls under sexual activity.

Based on your description of your sexual encounter, there is no real risk for HIV transmission to you. However, the Red Cross is not interested in your actual risk: they want to exclude anyone who might be at any remote risk for infection, even if the risk is theoretical. This is why so many gay people are angry at the Red Cross for their discriminatory policies, especially since there is a shortage in the blood supply.

You adhered to the guidelines for blood donation. Unfortunately, the process made you feel confused and ashamed. Should Gay Men Be Allowed to Donate Blood? is an article that gives a good overview of the issues and the debate.


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