Turning Away Blood Donation From Men Who have Sex With Men
Jeffrey R. Robinson
Grand Canyon University: Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Roles and Practice March 7th 2015
When blood donation is low and technologically advanced health and blood screening is a reality, why would the US continue to turn away blood? I chose this for the reason that being a gay man in the health care industry in 2014, I am still unable to donate blood. I do not engage in risky behavior, yet I still am unable to make a difference in the lives of many people. This paper will discuss the history of an outdated Federal Drug Administration (FDA) policy, which includes disparities, stigmas, and education or lack thereof. It will also address cultural communication and resolution to this policy. History
In the mid 1980’s when the first cases of HIV/Aids were being discovered the FDA put in place a policy to protect blood donation from HIV. At the time there was a lack of information regarding who carried the virus and how it could be transmitted. To protect the public a lifetime ban was placed on blood donation from men who have sex with men. To this day the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) continues its lifetime ban on men who have sex with men even though there are blood screening techniques and enhanced donor protocols in place (Roman, 2010). Stigma
Even in 2014 there are still multiple stigmas that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT). Homosexuality has a negative annotation in societal stigmas. Stigmas can include that all gay men have HIV, all lesbians are overweight and all transgender are confused. Men who have sex with men currently account for only 2% of the current US population (Lim, Brown, & Justin kim, 2014). Although men who have sex with men have a disproportionately higher risk of contracting HIV, The FDA has no restrictions in place to screen blood donation from straight man who indulge in risky behavior including IV drug abuse and unprotected vaginal and sex. Do to the inability to screen and receive the truth regarding how many partners an indivifual has, studies have been inconclusive in comparing the numbers of gay men versus straight men that indulge in risky behavior. Yet the FDA does not hold a ban on straight men. Disparities
In the LGBT community multiple health disparities exist. Some examples of these disparities are that men who have sex with men are at higher risk for contracting HIV but do not necessarily have a HIV. Lesbian women tend to be more overweight or obese than women of a different sexual orientation. Transgender people are more likely to go without health insurance than any other group with a different sexual orientation. Older LGBT individuals are at higher risk for other common comorbidities such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and diabetes (Lim, Brown, & Justin kim, 2014). Although many of these disparities in healthcare exist in the LGBT community they also exists in the general population. Due to a proportionately smaller population (approximately 10% of the population identified themselves as gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual) and other health comorbidities the LGBT community is at higher risk for these disparities. Although this higher risk of disparities is not due to risky behavior. Education
Since a lifetime ban on blood donation was put in place in the mid 80s there has been a little to no effort in changing the law until roughly 2009, in which the overturning the law was struck down. Due to a lack of education regarding HIV screening, men who have sex with men, and understanding of LGBT culture, there has been no change to an already outdated policy. Lack of education regarding the LGBT culture continues not only in the general population, but also in healthcare facilities, nursing schools, medical schools, and the general healthcare provider community. Nursing and medical programs...
References: Lim, F. A., Brown, D., & Justin kim, S. M. (2014). Addresing Health Care Disparities in
the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Population: A review of Best
Practices. American Journal of Nursing , 114, 24-34.
Lim, F., & Levitt, N. (2011). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health. American
Journal of Nursing , 111 (11), 11.
McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2014). Theworetical Basis for Nursing. (4. edition, Ed.)
Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Roman, J. (2010). Why Can 't Men Who Have Sex With Men Donate Blood. American
Journal of Nursing , 110 (10), 13.
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