Tuesday, July 17, 2007


One of the things I like about myself is my ability to find virtually any quirky news story and turn it into a rant. Here, I found an article about a "competition" to give away a kidney that turned out to be false but the tv programme did hugely increase the number of registered donors. One of the things I find genuinely frustrating about living in the US is my inability to give blood or organs.* The current Red Cross guidelines state:

At this time, the American Red Cross donor eligibility rules related to vCJD are as follows: You are not eligible to donate if:From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK).

However, there are far more reasons to be angry at the archaic and prejudicial reasons why you cannot give blood:

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV. You are at risk for getting infected if you:

  • are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
  • have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
  • have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
  • were born in, or lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea,Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria, since 1977.
  • since 1977, received a blood transfusion or medical treatment with a blood product in any of these countries, or
  • had sex with anyone who, since 1977, was born in or lived in any of these countries

I'm intrigued by the list of African countries - why not South Africa, for example, or Botswana, which has a rate of HIV infection approaching a quarter of all adults (second only to Swaziland)? Why people who have prostituted themselves at some point since 1977, but not the clients who, chances are, also do not make a one-time visit and are often the people who insist on splashing the cash so that they do not have to eat sweets with the wrapper on?** Maybe us females should be banned, too, given the level of infections and us being a quarter of all new infections right now, to say nothing of felons.***

However, in positive (ha) news, providing he really has kicked the habit, Senator Vitter can donate blood. Another way in which he's an awesome human being!

*Not that I'm actively trying to give them away right now, but you know what I mean. I hope.
** A particular favourite saying of mine from Malawi... where the rate without condoms was four to six times higher than with, and men really would pay the extra money which often equated to nearly a week's wages.
***Current risk of infection eight to ten times higher for HIV, nine to ten times higher for Hep C.

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