Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let's slow clap for the FDA!

In a stunningly progressive move, the FDA has announced that it will be ending its decades-long ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. Um, hurray? Now wait for it, because here comes the kick in the teeth: they'll accept donations from gay men assuming that they haven't had sex in the last year. Well what do you know? Beggars can be choosers.
Sure you're not getting laid, but look on
the bright side, you can donate blood again.
Pictured: Typical physician's garb, early-mid
1980's. The mask was used to ward off evil
spirits, while the stick kept the Soviets at bay.
In place since 1983, the ban disqualified any man who'd had sex with other man, even once, anytime after 1977 from donating blood, ever. Banned for life. It was an attempt to protect the blood supply from what we now call HIV, but was back then known as, I shit you not, GRID or gay-related immune deficiency. I guess this made sense to our primitive early 80's ancestors, since at the time no one knew what the hell it was they were dealing with and most diseases were assumed to be the work of sorcerers. But ever since the availability of reliable testing methods, the ban has been regarded as outdated and arbitrary, as well as completely unenforceable.

The take away here is that people
are a veritable grab-bag of STD's.
Under the ban, a man who has had sex with another man was disqualified, but a women who has had sex with a man was not. Unless of course that woman had sex with a man who has ever had sex with another man. That's assuming of course that he shared his entire sexual history with her. Also banned would be anyone who's used ever used nonprescription needle drugs, or had sex with someone who's used needle drugs (again, assuming they told their partner). Got all that?

Great. Because in addition to being blatantly homophobic, the rules are also dependent on people being honest about their history with sex and drugs. You know, the two things everyone lies about all the time. Since every unit of donated blood is tested for every disease ever, couldn't the FDA just stop being dicks about the whole thing and drop the anti-gay language altogether? Is that so hard?
"Needle drugs? No, never. Well, heroin, but they probably don't mean that..."
-The FDA's rigorous screening process

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