Gay men should not be able to donate blood

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it’s the stupid ones who need the advice.”
—Bill Cosby

An Associated Press story regarding the government’s continued ban on gay men being prohibited for life from donating blood prompted your host to wonder if it was just a slow news day or if it were actually true that the passage of time does in fact really make some people stupid.

For the uninitiated, the Food and Drug Administration recently reiterated its policy of prohibition on gay men donating blood as a method for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS through blood transfusions. Before giving blood, men are apparently asked if they have ever had sex with another man since 1977. An affirmative response to that question apparently results in a permanent ban.

According to the report, the Red Cross had criticized the policy as “medically and scientifically unwarranted,” which apparently prompted the FDA to reconsider its policy that has been in place since 1983.

“I am disappointed, I must confess.” So sayeth Dr. Celso Bianco, the executive vice president of America’s Blood Centers, whose members service about half of the blood supply for the country.

For those not fortunate enough to have lived through those times, “the big disease with a little name” came to global prominence in the early ’80s. At the time it was a disease relatively confined to gay men, intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs.

Now, lest the overly hyper-sensitive and politically correct get their pantyhose in a bunch, allow me to categorically state that I don’t give a rip what anyone’s sexual proclivities may be. As long as it doesn’t involve children, I don’t believe the government should have any say in the matter, either. That said, I don’t care if someone is in or out of the closet, but at least show a little common courtesy and keep it in the bedroom. I don’t swap spit with my wife in public, so I shouldn’t expect to have to explain to my children why one man is playing “tickle-the-tonsils” with another guy in public. Marching in pride parades dressed like a carnival sideshow doesn’t make anyone any more enlightened than the rest of us and most certainly isn’t going to get them any empathy from my side of the camp. And until anyone can make a cogent argument why I can’t have three wives, nobody is likely to convince me that all of western civilization should change for gay people, but I digress.

Anyway, since I’m a cynic by nature, I thought I’d check out the aforementioned claims for myself. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control ( has to say on the subject:

“In the United States, HIV infection and AIDS have had a tremendous effect on men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM accounted for 72 percent of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2005 (based on data from 33 states with long-term, confidential, name-based HIV reporting), even though only about 5 percent to 7 percent of male adults and adolescents in the United States identify themselves as MSM.”

So if I’m to assume that the CDC has its act together—a stretch for any government agency, but I’ll go with it for now—that means that a whopping 5 to 7 percent of the population accounts for 72 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the country! If you’re keeping score, that means that the vast majority of those with the disease come from a relativity disproportionate percentage of the population, i.e. gay men.

And yet the ban is considered “medically and scientifically unwarranted?”

This perhaps brings us back to Cosby’s assertion.