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Discordant information
Jun 1, 2004

Hi Dr. Bob, I deeply admire your positive attitude and desire to help everyone. But I notice you have never answered my questions about the actual transmission risk when using a latex condom with a sex worker. I actually HAVE read all your posts and still have a problem: There is a discordance between your saying, "if you use condoms properly, you are not at risk" and blood banks saying, "If you ever had sex with a sex worker, you cannot give blood, condoms or not." This suggests that some knowledgeable people think the risk is significantly higher than sex with some person you met at a party or in a bar. How much higher? Are there any estimates? The attitude is particularly hypocritical because they won't even test me if I used a condom properly (they say it's not worth testing because of negligible risk) but won't take my blood (not that I've ever tried to donate recently, but I have read the rules). Are they saying, it's OK if you die 'cause you're an immoral son of a bitch, but no one else should?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

No, I wouldn't say the information is at all "discordant." You are just trying to compare two completely different situations.

The blood banks really don't care if you are an immoral son of a bitch or an immoral President of the United States. What they are trying to do is protect the blood supply by "erring" on the side of over-excluding some healthy donors to prevent the possibility of having a contaminated unit of blood donated and possibly transfused into someone else by mistake. How could this happen? Well, it's the term "used condoms properly" that's the problem. Some folks truly believe they used condoms properly, but maybe don't even know that lambskin condoms are not protective against HIV transmission. Or perhaps, they think they need to put a condom on only just before they cum, etc. The blood bank rules are not hypocritical, but rather designed to protect us all from folks who may not realize they have had an HIV risk. I can assure you that the blood banks and I agree that HIV cannot pass through latex.

Hope this clears up any "discordance" and that you realize we are all very much in harmony on this issue. I'm still a bit curious as to why you took the quantum leap from reading the blood bank rules to assuming they thought you were an immoral son of a bitch. If you need to be HIV tested, I certainly hope you weren't looking to the blood bank for an answer. That really would be immoral.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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