lurkitty: (Default)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] litharriel posed an interesting query over in her lj with respect to bi and pansexuals feeling they encounter disdain from the GL side of the GLBT community.

Why might this be so? What might make people uncomfortable with shades of gray? Theories??
lurkitty: (Default)
As the years pass, I'd like to think that we've grown up a bit.

It has been decades since a lone drug tech, Sandra Ford, began scratching her head at the number of gay men contracting an odd and deadly disease. A few moths later, the CDC was issuing very confident statements about the situation. One CDC spokesman, Dr. Curran was quoted in July 1981 in the NY TImes as saying. "The best evidence against contagion is that no cases have been reported to date outside the homosexual community or in women."

It took only 5 months to find cases in IV drug users - that's right - as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, in December of 1981, the link to UV drug use was known. But that did not deter the NY Times referring to it as a "homosexual disorder" in May of 1982.

The evidence for spread recipients of blood products came as early as 1982, and spread to women in 1983. This was when the point of origin of the disease was discovered, in Africa in the late 1970's, where it had never been associated with homosexuals at all. Gay men had acquired it in Haiti. The association of AIDS with gay men, in retrospect, was an unfortunate occurrence of bad luck. It could just have easily have been contracted by straight men using prostitutes in Zaire. What a difference that would have made in the politics of the disease!

The American Association of Blood Banks, along with many independent blood centers, have been asking for a change in FDA policy since March. They'd like to see the policy that prohibits men who have sex with men (MSM) form giving blood reviewed, and, hopefully, dropped. With the advent of nucleic acid testing, the agencies believe that continuing to ban all gay men from donating does nothing to increase the safety of the blood supply.

According to a Medical News Today article, the FDA is not keen on the idea. CDC. "Karen Riley, an FDA spokesperson, said that the agency reviews the policy periodically but that discussions usually support the current policy. 'We understand that our recommendation for permanent deferral has the effect of deferring all gay men, but it really comes down to epidemiology,' Riley said, adding, 'Men who have sex with men are 60 times more likely to be HIV-infected than the general population. ... The policy is in place for the protection of the nation's blood supply.'"

I applaud the careful wording of her statement. "Men who have sex with men are 60 times more likely to be HIV-infected than the general population." It doesn't take an advanced degree in stats to see that the number she gives is inflated. She is comparing sexually active gay men to the general population. She is not comparing them to people of the same age group, nor is she comparing them to other men. Why not? She reached for the most dramatic statistic to prove her point. Surely, if you compare a narrow group of individuals to the entire population, including infants, you're going to find a whopping difference. Further, statements like these perpetuate the myth that this is a gay disease.

New cases of AIDS in the US are increasingly found among women, with heterosexual sex being a rising risk factor. Are we going to start banning heterosexuals and women now, too?

A man's sexual history is based on a voluntary survey, a survey that relies on the honesty of the taker. It was put in place before the routes of transmission were fully known and a blood test existed. A nucleic acid test can be used on any blood sample and does not rely on the honesty of the blood donor. It seems far more logical to rely on science to make the determination, and remove the outmoded stopgap measure that long ago outlived its usefulness.

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lurkitty

August 2011

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