Here…Have A Shovel…

As the saying goes, when your opponent is digging themselves in deeper, throw them a shovel.  I just want to make a couple of points in regard to Evan’s excellent follow-up on Fischer’s “clarification” of his post advocating the return of sodomy laws.

First…I have a question Mr. Fischer.  If your rational for locking homosexuals up is based on HIV risk, then I take it you only want to lock up gay men.  Lesbians are cool with you?  Just checking…

Secondly, regarding the FDA’s position on letting gay men donate blood…one of the sources the FDA cites in it’s own position paper, is a 2003 paper by Germain, M., Remis, R.S., and Delage, G., titled The risks and benefits of accepting men who have had sex with men as blood donors. That’s Marc Germain of Hema-Quebec.  As biomedical journalist Bob Roehr notes in his article, Should men who have ever had sex with men be allowed to give blood? Yes, published in the British Medical Journal…

Marc Germain and colleagues at the Hema-Quebec blood service, Montreal, estimate that changing the deferral of MSM to 12 monthsfrom when the last sex took place with a new partner would result in the release of only one more unit of HIV positive blood among the 15 million units a year processed in the United States.

They have continued to refine this model, plugging in the effect of newer, more accurate screening tests and better epidemiological data on the changing face of the epidemic, which reduced the risk even further. Speaking from the audience during a panel discussion at the October annual meeting of the AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, Dr Germain told the international conference, “If we relax the criteria to one year, with the new analysis we estimate there would be one additional case of HIV every 2000 years.”

So it would seem even the FDAs own sources for justifying the lifetime ban aren’t on board with it.  But as Roehr points out, the ban is idiotic on its face…

The lifetime ban was put in place in the United States in the mid-1980s, when little was known about HIV: tests for the virus were non-existent or crude; diagnosis was akin to a short term death sentence; and the disease was thought to be concentrated almost exclusively among gay men in the industrialised world.

Discrimination was embedded in the policy from the start. It does not distinguish between sexual acts, how recent or distant the exposure, or whether a man has been in a monogamous relationship, but eternally stigmatizes any male same sex contact.

And in comparing the FDAs approach to homosexuality with drug abuse, Fischer neatly omits this…

In the US people who fall into other categories of risky behaviour—for example, injecting drug users and female sex workers—are generally allowed to donate blood after a year’s deferral from the last risky activity.

So, thirdly, does Fischer think the FDA should treat gay men the same way it treats drug abuse?  Just curious…

But all this is, of course, begging the question.  In fact a lot of other folks cannot donate blood either…people who have had animal tissue transplants, people who have traveled to nations where malaria is a concern.  Fischer isn’t saying we need to treat gay men the same way we treat people who have traveled to Honduras, or explored the Amazon.

Because you don’t get thrown in jail for that.

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