I think it was about a year ago, perhaps a little under, that it was reported that Gay Men and Women were now able to give blood; I can perhaps understand why 30 years ago gay people were banned from giving blood at the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, no-one knew exactly what HIV was, and it was a death sentence, it was fairly scary. I remember that horror stories circulated about being able to catch if from a toilet seat or money.
I knew a person living with HIV, well he didn’t let on at the time, and he was frantic about not sharing Mugs, he had his own Mug, and you were under no circumstances allowed to used it – he kept his condition silent, suffering alone eventually he left Sheffield and moved back to Brighton so I am not sure what happened; anyhow the days were dark and scary of this new illness, and everyone was developing a phobia of Icebergs. At that time there was blanket ban on Gay Men giving blood.
In those enlightened times, I have to say, you could also be sacked for being gay.
Today we have Civil Partnerships, openly Gay Ministers and debating Equal Marriage, so why has it taken till 2011 to allow gay men to give blood – if they have abstained from sex for one year?
On face value it is simple, gay men are promiscuous and heterosexual males are totally monogamous and always use Condoms – but we all know that is not true, I am sure picking through the Stats on adultery (and this would be straight men) would show that is not the case, look at any town on a Saturday night and see how monogamous straight people are. Perhaps it is because HIV is seen as a gay disease which rather contradicts the evidence that the rates of HIV infection are higher amongst the heterosexual community than the Gay Community.
In every walk of life, well nearly when we get Equal Marriage, it does not matter if you are Gay, Straight, or Bi – so why not update attitudes on sexual health.
HIV does not discriminate, why should the National Blood Transfusion Service do so?