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discrimination against homosexuals in blood donations?
Feb 21, 2005

Dr. Frascino,

I am a first year med student and fan (both for almost a year now) and you even once answered my question promptly (which I appreciate). It has come to my attention via reading an editorial that some blood drives or blood banks screen heavily with their questionaires prior to allowing blood donations. One of the questions they ask is "Are you bisexual or homosexual?" and if one answers yes, there are times that they are turned away.

I realize that there are other questions (such as have you visited certain areas of the world in the last year?, etc.) that also cause people to be turned away. My question is - is this justified? As in, is it logical that blood banks would turn people away because of the notion that people of certain lifestyles might have more risky behavior?

Your insight into this would be much appreciated as I have grown to trust your advice and unbiased facts when it comes to evidence based medicine. Thank you.

Sincerely, JP, future MD

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Yep, that's the policy: if you're gay, don't donate blood. It is indeed unfortunate when "policy" is not founded on unbiased judgment and evidence-based science. Ultimately, the goal is commendable: keep the blood supply safe. But the policy of avoiding all donations by gays is as flawed as not allowing gays to serve in the military or not allowing HIV-positive folks from other nations to enter the U.S. none of it makes any sense, but all of it is indeed "policy," as are:

1. "Global warming needs more study."

2. "The jury is still out on evolution."

3. "The sanctity of marriage would be destroyed if two people of the same sex were allowed to commit and devote themselves to each other."

Over time, science and common sense will eventually win out over misguided beliefs and political hypocrisies.

Now get back to work, Medical Student. That cadaver is not going to dissect itself, you know.

Dr. Bob



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