Would you lie to donate blood?

(This may belong in IMHO, im not sure!)

Im a male who used to donate blood regularly, i got my first piercing so had to delay donating for 12 months, but during that 12 months i started having protected sex with men.
Being a male myself, it turns out they don’t want my blood anymore.

Now i used to think “fine, they don’t want my blood that has no issues, then they aren’t getting it”. But they always go on about low blood supplies and i thought that perhaps i could lie about my sexual history (knowing that my blood is fine) in order to donate ‘for the greater good’.

So i ask you this.

a) Would you give misleading information (believing 100% it wouldn’t effect anything) in order to donate blood, knowing that if you told the truth you couldn’t?


b) Considering the entire system is based on people telling the truth (or what they believe to be the truth) on the questionnaire anyway, what’s wrong with asking about “protected” vs “unprotected” sex?

I assume the questions are there for a reason, so no, I would not lie to circumvent them. If that meant my blood was unwelcome then so be it.

That’s what i forgot to mention.
The “believe int he system”. They want the blood, they make the rules.

However the thing is their reason is they want to weed out blood that isn’t safe.

So in your case if they said to you “You are a man, so you have a higher chance of AIDS”, and you know you don’t have it, would you lie to donate blood for the sake of the people that need it?

Let me get this straight (no pun intended)…

Gay men can not give blood because of the bigger chance they may have HIV or other sexual disease?

You know your blood is top-notch 100%, and want to lie (say you’re straight) in order to give blood?

I say lie, have all gay men lie, and in a few years all come clean (again, no pun!) and show the system for what it is - i.e. stupid.

The blood of gay people having protected sex is just as safe as the blood of straight people having protected sex. And vice versa. And I’m no doctor.

(side note - does this law/rule apply to gay women?)

is it also OK to lie if you are having protected sex with prostitutes? How about if you are shooting up but use a new, clean needle every time?

I believe it’s not “gay men” but;
-men who have had sex with men
-anyone who may be bisexual
-anyone who has had sex for money/gifts
-anyone who thought they may be HIV positive

or anyone who has had sex with anyone in the above category (i.e a woman who has sex with a bi man).

It doesn’t, no. American Red Cross requirements here, click the HIV link to jump down to the restrictions in question. And Punintentional is right, the restriction is on men who’ve had sexual contact with another man, even once, since 1977 - among other restrictions.

One of the problems with blood donations is that due to cost issues, (last I recall) blood units are combined with others and only then tested for various diseases. If it comes up positive for something, many other units are wasted. Plus there is always the chance (small, but when you consider how much blood is donated every year, it must surely happen at some point) of false negatives letting blood with something - hepatitis, HIV, whatever - through.

Subjectively, I don’t think the guidelines are fair, but I’m hard-pressed to think of how to fix the situation in a safe and cost-effective manner.

It’s wrong to lie, especially since you’re making money (N.B. in the UK blood donors are not paid) and putting other people at risk.

What you should do is start a campaign to have tested people allowed to give blood.
This would:

  • allow you to give blood
  • bring attention to the issues

Here are the rules from the American Red Cross:

Here are some other fun rules:

They do still test the blood. They’re telling a guy who had 1 homosexual encounter in 1979, who may have had a dozen clean HIV tests since then, that he can’t donate blood because he might have the AIDS.

They also don’t want European blood, we all know how living in Europe can make a person sick.

I think the rules go too far, and do quite a lot to create the everpresent shortages. I probably wouldn’t lie, but then I’m more of a “My blood isn’t good enough? Screw you!” type of guy.

Condoms are only something like 85% effective in preventing HIV transmission (assuming perfect use) so I don’t think this is true. And indeed, I suspect that’s the reason for the rule being stated as it is.

I think the “no gay men” rule for blood donations is increasingly dated as HIV rates drop in that demographic (especially in relation to other groups who are allowed to give). But I do think its unethical to take it upon your self to decide such a thing, presumably someone at the Red Cross or similar institution has spent actual time and money crunching the statistics and decided that, regardless of what you personally may think, the risk to reward ratio of allowing gay men who only have protected sex is too great.

With regards to the “mixing blood before testing”, im not sure that is the case in Australia as when giving blood they take 3 separate samples in vials for “testing purposes”.
Plus in Australia we don’t get paid.

But im asking would YOU lie if you knew as well as you could that your blood was safe (you’d had a test yesterday, for example) and they told you that because of ‘A’ you couldn’t donate.

The point that always bugs me is that I could have been an absolute horn dog all my life and had (safe) sex with a different woman every night of the week for the past 30 years and never had a single STD test done, they’re okay with that, but if I had had sex with a guy once in 1980 and tested for everything under the sun every six months since then? No good.

My father got Hepatitis C after getting several units of blood following bypass surgery in 2002. I learned at that time that HIV is not the big fear in blood transfusions, but Hep C is a far greater threat. I can’t recall the stats, but Hep C is the biggest killer of healthcare workers, who usually acquire it via needle sticks or exposure to contaminated blood. It also represents the greatest risk to recipients of donated transfused blood.

So back to the question in the op- don’t lie. The process is way more complex than you may realize. For example, you may have been exposed to HepC (even tho you are having safe sex) and may even test negative for the disease. But it is possible that you have the virus in your system, but have not yet sero-converted (which would yeild a negative test, even tho you are hepC positive). If you donate your blood, and it ends up in an elderly person with a compromised immune system, your generosity and second guessing of the rules may kill that person.

So if you have issues with what may seem like discriminatory practices of blood banks, you should address them in a different way that would not potentially jeopardize someone else’s health. This is not intended to sound like a lecture. I do see your point and think “there must be a better way”. But focus on finding that better way instead of screwing with the system.

Payment isn’t done in the US, either. Private companies that collect plasma for medical purposes/research may pay (and perhaps even for blood), but the major blood donation organizations do not pay.

Out of interest, would such a lie open you up to any consequences if you were somehow found to be lying, particularly if you were paid for your donation?

Good response, however what is the correlation between Hep C and (protected) sex with men, as there must be one for the “Hep C” argument to have any value in this discussion? (Im not trying to be snarky, i actually do want you to convince me).

That’s an interesting question.
Personally i think the donations are anonymous and with others answering this question let’s remember that the person donating truly believes that they have 100% clean blood (including being tested by doctors).

No, I would never lie. It’s not my place to decide my own suitability for donation, for obvious reasons.

What Enola Gay said. Too many people take this as a lifestyle condemnation and that’s wrong. You may not agree with the guidelines and I’d certainly encourage you to try and get them changed through proper channels but please don’t attempt to circumvent the process implemented by knowlegable medical professionals by lying. That’s just wrong, no two ways about it and in doing so you may be responsible for the suffering and/or death of someone who trusted you to tell the truth.