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Positive screening, Negative WB and Final test.

Jan 4, 2008


I am writing on behalf of my wife. My wife donated blood a few months ago, and she got a letter back from the blood bank today, which states: "HIV-1/HIV-2 Antibody Screen - Positive; Confirmatory testing (Western Blot) - Negative; Final Result - Negative", and also "These laboratory findings should not alarm you". To me, this seems to be obvious that she is indeed confirmed to be HIV negative.

However, she is alarmed because the letter also states: "Blood donations that test positive with the screening test are not to be transfused according to 'FDA' requirements", and that she 'cannot donate blood' and that she is now in the "Donor Deferral Registry". Why, if she is indeed HIV negative?

To give you a picture, my wife and I have been together intimately since August 2006, and since then I myself have had two HIV tests done; both negative. We are both Active Duty in the military, and have them done regularly. We have both stayed monogamous with each other since we've first been intimate. Our first unprotected encounter was in Aug. 2006. Before we met, our last unprotected encounters were approximately both a year from Aug. 2006.

I am negative on my February 2007 HIV test (6 months after our first unprotected encounter), and I am negative on my current (October 2007) HIV test.

My wife is deeply disturbed as to why this would happen. Could you shed some light?

Kindest Regards,

Erik and Amanda

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Erik and Amanda,

The FDA is a branch of the federal government. Unfortunately the current head of the government has a science-proof brain. It's also common-sense proof. This "FDA requirement" is another nonsensical rule that has no scientific basis. (See below)It makes as much sense as permanently banning all men who have had sex with other men form ever donating blood. Certainly we all want to protect the nation's blood supply and are more than willing to error on the side of extreme caution; however, some governmental rules, including the one preventing Amanda from donating blood, make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Your wife is HIV negative. That's the important fact, OK? Chances are this and other nonsensical rules, like the ban on HIV-positive folks visiting the U.S. for example, will hopefully be reevaluated once we have a more enlightened inhabitant of the White House. After all W does stand for both "Worst" and "Wrong"!

Dr. Bob


Hi Dr Bob How are you.Hope you are in a good shape. I just have a small question with you.I went to the Red Cross to give blood.They asked me some questions and in one question they asked me that have you gone outside of US within 5 years.I told them that I am from INDIA and I came last year only to US.With that ground they rejected me and told that a person can only give blood if they haven't gone outside the US within 5 years and now I can't give the blood by 2010.Thats REDICULOUS.I know that I am a very safe Donor but then also I cant give by 2010 and I know that I wont be able to give it in US as every next year I will be going back to my country and I wont be able to satisfy their this Constraint.And like me there are tons of people.DONT U THINK THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG IN THIS CONSTRAINT. Your Big Fan Deepak

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Deepak,

The restrictions on blood donations are designed to protect the blood supply; however, I certainly do not agree with some of the exclusionary criteria currently in place. The most egregious, in my opinion, is a blanket restriction on any man who has ever had sex with another man. He's barred from donating for life! (See below.)

Perhaps when Dubya leaves office and we restore some common sense to the nation, some of these discriminatory policies will be reversed as we once again begin to trust science and rational thought.

Dr. Bob

Blocked from Blood Donation? Feb 13, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob,

I enjoy reading your forum and I have learned a lot. I am one of the many "worried wells" out there who have asked you questions in the past about possible HIV exposure because of some stupid, irresponsible behavior on my part.

Recently, I became interested in donating some blood to the local blood bank. I was reading the criteria for donation on their web site, and noticed that "men who have had sex with men, even once, should NEVER donate, regardless of HIV status". Now, I'm not gay, but I have had some bi-curious experiences with transexuals. After those experiences, I realized that it just wasn't for me and that the reality wasn't as good as the fantasy (for me, anyway).

I'm kind of shocked to learn that because of three experiences I had in my past, I can never donate blood to this blood bank. I have not tested positive for HIV, nor do I have any other blood-borne illness. What is the rationale behind the rule at this blood bank? Is this something that is practiced by blood banks nationwide?

Response from Dr. Frascino


There is no scientific rational behind this ludicrous policy. Welcome to the world of discrimination based on fear. We are trying to get this archaic and scientifically irrational policy changed. But science, truth and common sense are not valued by our current administration that sets national policy. So bi-curious, HIV-negative guy, welcome to the club of healthy, HIV-negative folks who have had safe man-on-man sex and are now barred from donating blood for life! Don't even get me started on gays in the military or gay marriage!

Dr. Bob

Blood Donation Comment Feb 14, 2007

Follow up to the blood donor question with a comment. I am a CLS student doing a blood bank rotation and looking at protocols for blood donations. One question that is not asked and I feel that it should be asked is, in the last three months have you engaged in unprotected sex? This will apply to a man or women independent of their sexual orientation. To me this question is much more important and covers the main aspect of sexual activity with regard blood donations and HIV, protected vs. unprotected. It seems as if blood donation centers only get HIV tainted blood from homosexual men, is that true Dr. Bob? (Just kidding!!)

Looking for a Change

Response from Dr. Frascino


Asking about unprotected sex within the last three months would make much more sense than categorically barring for life all men who have ever had sex with another man. But then again, common sense and the Bush administration seem to be mutually exclusive phenomena.

Dr. Bob

hey there dr bob....
Did I test wrong?

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