Orlando Shooting

Orlando Pulse Shooting a Reminder That FDA's Gay Blood Donor Ban Is Incredibly Stupid

Federal government completely wrong about risks of gay men donating blood.

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Orlando
Richard Graulich/ZUMA Press/Newscom

In the wake of last night's horrific mass shooting at Pulse—a gay nightclub in Orlando—local hospitals are in desperate need of blood donors. More than 50 people were injured in the attack (another 50 are dead).

It's safe to assume that there are many members of the gay community who would like to do their part and donate blood. But technically, many of them can't. That's because of absurd and outdated guidance from the FDA, which prohibits gay men who have had sex with other men from giving blood.

The ban originated as a response to the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. Last year, the FDA relaxed the ban slightly: gay men are only prohibited from giving blood if they have had sex with other men in the past year. Needless to say, that still excludes a lot of people.

The guidance is completely illogical. It's technically unenforceable, for one thing: donors can simply lie about their sex lives. It also ignores the fact that lots of gay men are monogamous, and only engage in safe sex with a single partner. Heterosexual men and women who have had sex with multiple partners in the last year are not prohibited from giving blood, even though their sex is comparatively riskier.

The ban is also unnecessary. Donated blood is always tested for HIV, making the risk of an infected person passing on the disease via donation effectively zero.

Earlier today, Gawker reported that a local blood donation clinic had made the decision to ignore the guidance and welcome gay male blood donors. But that story was wrong: the clinic said on Twitter that it is still obeying the FDA:

"All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation. There are false reports circulating that  FDA rules were being lifted. Not true."

More's the pity.

For Reason's complete coverage of the Orlando Pulse shooting, go here.

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  1. Earlier today, Gawker reported that a local blood donation clinic had made the decision to ignore the guidance and welcome gay male blood donors.

    Even after everything, Gawker still wants to ruin it for gay people.

    Psst, don’t announce to the world that a clinic is violating federal regulations. Morons.

    1. Seriously. Just do it, and then lie about it.

      1. I must have missed that Nike commercial.

    2. Good point.

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  2. Rule 1: Don’t use early moments to advance your longstanding grievances about the ban on gay male blood donors.

      1. And I agree with Rico’s opinion about the wrongness of the ban.

        1. Same. Just don’t tie it to something that has very little connection to the event.

          1. Well, this does.

            local hospitals are in desperate need of blood donors

    1. For those of us not in the know, can you fill us in on what “early moments” and grievances you’re referring to?

  3. “donors can simply lie about their sex lives.”

    That’s true for blood donation. But for organ and tissue donation, they actually check your butthole, and they interview your family and friends. I’m not kidding.

    1. I need to look into donating my organs and tissue.

      1. To clarify, you won’t be alive to enjoy the butthole exam.

        1. But I can enjoy the anticipation.

      2. Oh, and check your email.

    2. “I swear, I’m just into pegging, that’s all!”

    3. Good. Assfucking spreads diseases pretty easily.

  4. Glad to see that reason is as up to the task of politicizing mass shootings as any other branch of the media, tenuous a connection as gay blood donors have to the event.

    Hell, maybe we can throw food trucks or medical marijuana in the mix and make it a classic Reason post for the ages. Or maybe Reason could back off the “libertarianism for stupid people and Jezebel readers” angle of rehashed news coverage and find more Balkos to cover original news that actually has some bearing on their politics.

    1. Yeah, the gay conspiracy has been unearthed here. Robby’s a shill for Big Gay Al.

      1. Of course he his you silly goose!

    2. It’s apropos and Gawker made it an issue. Frankly, I think we should encourage Rico to wander off the OH NOES COLLEGE beat every now and then.

    3. Yeah, how dare Reason report on homophobic bullshit regulations that harm people in need of blood? It’s not at all germane to libertarianism if the government is fucking over gay people.

      1. They can report on whatever they damn well please. In this case whether the FDA changes its policy has zip to do with what happens with people in this situation, who are prioritized for blood donations and in any case prompt an increase in said donations through the normal channels just by virtue of being on the news. But check out that fine virtue signaling in hijacking a news story to harp about your largely unrelated fringe issue. If you really think this is going to convince anyone who doesn’t already think that the policy is antiquated, then your ability to appreciate the difference between virtue signaling and persuasion is well beyond my ability to help.

        1. It’s a blog. People comment here. Some of those people are more equal than others, and they generate the content other people comment on. Hence, Robby posting a story. And what, honestly, would you prefer to see posted here? The blogosphere is going to be inundated with calls to disarm all Americans and calls to ban all Muslims. A call to repeal a bad policy that might actually save lives is the sanest and most rational response to a horror show like this.

          1. If virtue signaling were capable of such an effect on policy, we’d have already disarmed America and banned Muslims long ago. Thank god, it is not the preferred mode of politics for many people in broad society and it’s far more profitable (and ethical, IMO) to discourage virtue politics than it is to hop on the bandwagon on the off chance that [minor political issue #556] happens to be the one that lucks out in virtue signaling bingo.

            1. How is this virtue signalling? Repealing a policy vs. compromising a Constitutionally enshrined right or attempting to limit rights of travel to non-Muslims. One of these is not like the others, one of these is not the same.

              1. Right, only one of those things is libertarian which is another way of saying that only one of those is virtuous to you and me — which is the mark of virtue signaling. It wouldn’t be signaling if you didn’t think it was a virtue, and it is signaling precisely because its relevance to helping the people involved is limited. These folks will — get the blood they need from donors, and the thing that can best help is to ask for donations, not waiting for the FDA to change its policy. If these people are going to be cardboard cutouts for your morality play, then do yourself the favor of not connecting them to your pet issue. It’s weird and unconvincing, and only wins you points with the choir — and if that’s all you wanted in the first place, then be pleased because kudos from your side are all you’ll get for your trouble.

                1. Speak for yourself, friend. I hadn’t considered the issue until Robby brought it up. If someone shot up a nearby synagogue I wouldn’t hold it against a bunch of Jews coming out to donate blood. But that wouldn’t be an issue, because there’s no policy against Jew blood, and nobody would care.

            2. What a stupid thing to complain about.

              1. Micro-virtue-signalling: too subtle of a virtue-signal to the common eye, but butthurt Trumpkins can fabricate them out of any context.

                1. Why are you bringing Trump supporters into this?

      2. I must point out the government is not fucking over gay people on this issue. It’s fucking over people with cancer and other diseases that need a lot of blood-donations.

    4. It’s completely germane to the conversation and it’s asinine to think otherwise.

  5. Lying about pitching and catching. There is Ted Haggard joke in context of this somewhere.

  6. [moves HyR into “Salon tier shit” folder]

    1. Overregulation is such a tired trope. When will Reason get around to posting substantive articles about whatever Trump or Hillary said recently.

      1. Overregulation is such an important topic Reason assigned their most fabulous intern to do research and write a compelling rebuttal to the FDA talk about his feelings.

        1. Robby wrote the article. His hair is still grieving. Give it time, man.

        2. And in any event,

          The guidance is completely illogical. It’s technically unenforceable, for one thing: donors can simply lie about their sex lives. It also ignores the fact that lots of gay men are monogamous, and only engage in safe sex with a single partner. Heterosexual men and women who have had sex with multiple partners in the last year are not prohibited from giving blood, even though their sex is comparatively riskier.

          what specifically about his rationale are you objecting to?

          1. ” donors can simply lie about their sex lives” Ignores marginal benefit. I believe Bryan Caplan had a post where this was one of the ‘terrible libertarian arguments’

            “It also ignores the fact that lots of gay men are monogamous” There’s “lots” of everything in a 300+ million country. Totally useless for CBA.

            “even though their sex is comparatively riskier.” Pure feelings. No facts.

            1. Yes, arguing against a tasteless policy based on an outdated sense of what gay men get up to vis-a-vis their penises, using some concrete examples of how outdated and ineffective those policies are, is pure feels.

              Just to take an extreme example, if you’re offered the choice of living with HIV or dying from blood loss, what’s your purely rational, devoid of emotion response?

              1. outdated sense of what gay men get up to vis-a-vis their penises

                Did 1-2% of the population stop being 2/3 of HIV diagnoses?

                using some concrete examples of how outdated and ineffective those policies are

                There was none of this.

                Just to take an extreme example, if you’re offered the choice of living with HIV or dying from blood loss, what’s your purely rational, devoid of emotion response?

                Go be with your kids or something. You’re all worked up.

                1. There was none of this.

                  The guidance is completely illogical. It’s technically unenforceable, for one thing: donors can simply lie about their sex lives. It also ignores the fact that lots of gay men are monogamous, and only engage in safe sex with a single partner. Heterosexual men and women who have had sex with multiple partners in the last year are not prohibited from giving blood, even though their sex is comparatively riskier.

                  And before you come up with your “1-2%” stat, do you really think HIV-positive gays are donating?

                  1. That’s neither “concrete” nor “examples”, sparky.

                    And before you come up with your “1-2%” stat

                    What percent of the population is gay males? If it’s not 1-2%, I’m all ears.

                    do you really think HIV-positive gays are donating?

                    No, of course gays are above that. In libertopia, hospitals would just use un-screened, un-tested blood because all this infectious disease in donated blood stuff was a government disinformation campaign. Obviously.

                    1. So a gay man who is willing to lie about his homosexuality is not willing to lie about his disease?

                    2. So a gay man who is willing to lie about his homosexuality is not willing to lie about his disease?

                      HIV (not AIDS) doesn’t have strong symptoms. THAT’S WHY PEOPLE GET TESTED. I’m about done here. I feel like I’m talking to a child.

                    3. Again, you’re talking about a policy that massively restricts people on a very narrow basis, and you bring up “1-2%” of reportedly infected people whom you suggest would actually knowingly donate on that basis.

                    4. you bring up “1-2%” of reportedly infected people whom you suggest would actually knowingly donate on that basis.

                      Mother of God.

                      I’m going to do this one more time.

                      1-2% of the population is gay men. They are 2/3 of HIV diagnoses.

                      Obviously, very few people would knowingly donate infected blood because that’s really psychotic.

                      People get HIV tests because, unlike Ebola, you can get a positive result before blood is shooting out your eyes. In fact, a decade of only mild symptoms is common.

                      Therefore, completely banning MSM* (men who have sex with men) from donating blood reduces blood volume by 1-2% and reduces HIV infection by 2/3rds. That math may be wrong. You or Robby or anyone advocating for a rule change for pragmatic reasons is welcome to challenge it. That’s not what’s happened here.

                      * “MSM” was adopted by the CDC after HIV positive people were donating blood because, while they had sex with men, they didn’t identify as gay or bisexual.

                    5. ONCE AGAIN LET ME MAKE THE CASE SIMPLY

                      WHAT PREVENTS SOMEONE LYING ABOUT THEIR INFECTION

                      THIS POLICY RELIES ON NOTHING OTHER THAN TOTAL HONESTY.

                    6. YOU STUPID FUCKING CUNT. THE ISSUE IS PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE HIV. YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE LYING.

                      YOU HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES.

                    7. I distinctly recall gays seeking out hippies for enjoyable drugs before Christian prohibitionists banned clean needles (and we invaded Afghanistan). I am not convinced the virus is sexually transmitted at all. If it is, then surely there isn’t any HIV where mohammedan berserkers are an armed majority shooting down infidels at will.

                      Show us the HIV numbers among Allah’s pure and goodthinkful followers.

                    8. Fucking idiot.

                    9. Yes, last time I checked Sidd was correct. I had this discussion within the last year with a person that worked for Red Cross who didn’t understand the restriction and I was forced to explain that sometimes there’s an actual scientific reason for restrictions, even if the people in question are going to lie about it.

                      While you’re dying on this hill of your own making, perhaps remove the restrictions on people who travel abroad and have sex in countries with a high percentage of AIDS infections, because it’s basically the same thing: statistics.

                      So if you don’t like the restriction, make your arguments considering the fact that gay men are by-and-large the largest segment of the population who have AIDS, while being a tiny minority of the overall population. I’m sorry that facts are sexist assholes.

                  2. I would be more secure about HIV positive men not donating blood if I knew whether the “bug chaser party” story from the 1990’s was a joke. I suspect it was. I think some credulous reporter bought some gay person’s deadpan snark hook, line, sinker, rod, and waders. But I’ve never seen reportage to that effect.

                    If “bug chasers” are real, I decline to believe that the Gay community has the sense to pour pee out of a boot.

                2. Gays are a high risk group for HIV, among other things. If anyone doesn’t like it, touch shit.

                  1. homosexuals are the PRIMARY risk for HIV,not just “A high-risk group”.
                    THEY are the reason HIV spread so wide,became mainstreamed.
                    To allow gheys to donate blood or organs is insanity. No test is 100%,and in early stages,the virus is undetectable. “first,do no harm” is the medic’s motto.
                    Even today,with the knowledge we have about HIV/AIDS,homosexuals still contract the disease at rates FAR about normals rate. Many gheys don’t get tested because they just don’t want to know. They do not do “safe-sex”,they still have anonymous hookups and multiple partners. Even their faux “marriages” are not really monogamous.

                    This letting them donate blood is just more “progressive” PC garbage.

    2. “[moves HyR into “Salon tier shit” folder]”

      If I’d written a parody of what Robby might have written, it would have been like this but had something to do with college somehow.

      I guess there wasn’t a college angle, so he went with this.

      I wonder if her read Gillespie’s post about how to react to tragedy before he posted this.

      It’s kind of embarrassing.

      1. The correct interpretation of Gillespie’s “Don’t rush to insert your preferred political pet-issues into events”-appeal was actually =

        LEAVE POLITICAL POINT-SCORING TO THE EXPERTS = “US”.

        1. There’s not editor, really.

          I doubt Gillespie or Welch approved this before he posted it.

          If he’d waited ten minutes and read Gillespie’s post, it probably never would have seen the light of day.

          When Robby moves on to some other news outlet, I guarantee you this won’t be one of the articles he presents in his portfolio.

          If there’s anything funny about the article it’s also that in spite of trying to fight for gay rights, the whole thing is deeply offensive to gays. For Christ’s sake, 50 gay people are dead! This is not the time to sell their corpses off for your favorite issue.

          This is Seinfeld making out with his girlfriend during Schindler’s List–and Robby’s doing it in the name of tolerance and sensitivity.

          1. “This is Seinfeld making out with his girlfriend during Schindler’s List–and Robby’s doing it in the name of tolerance and sensitivity.”

            I mean LO freakin’ L!!!

          2. I wasn’t remarking on Robby’s piece so much as the shallowness of Nick’s assertion as though somehow “They don’t routinely capitalize on spur-of-the-moment news to make political points”

            Its what *they do*.

            Pretending to deny their nature is silly. Its like a dog saying, “one shouldn’t just chase things because they are thrown”.

            1. Gillespie and Welch don’t do it before the bodies are cold.

              It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon.

              And they write these pieces, typically, right after the shooting.

              I think Columbine had a big impact on them both–when everything we thought we knew, even weeks after the shooting, turned out to be false.

              They weren’t treanchcoat mafia, they didn’t get their guns the way we thought they did, just about everything we thought we knew turned out to be bogus . . .

              And yet everyone was making emphatic policy prescriptions based on half-baked information.

              And there’s the question of form. When Gilbert Gottfried makes jokes about 9/11 right afterwards, we can excuse it because he’s a comedian. When we’re trying to score political points in the name of libertarianism with still warm dead bodies, we make ourselves look pathetic.

  7. Man arrested at LA pride parade with weapons and explosives.

    They went out of their way to include the race of the suspect in the story. Odd, that.

    1. Well, there you have it. Christian extremist. What more needs to be said?

    2. I like the implication that all Muslims are brown-skinned.

    3. “The source said the man appeared to be white.”

      Well, obviously, somebody needs to do something about the white scourge.

    4. With prog-blinders enabled, first thing noted about this homophobe bigot is that he is
      white.

    5. FTA: “Appears to be white.”

      Proves the point I’ve made all morning: rightwing terrorists are all the same, whether Christianist, Islamist, white or otherwise. They have identical views on social issues.

      More gays have been killed in the US by Christianist terrorists than Islamist ones. Ultimately, they are equally dangerous to all our liberties.

      I really don’t understand Postrel’s problem with us. Does she even internet?

      1. It’s not enough to call out Islamic extremists: we have to start taking issue with white militants, who have had it easy for far too long.

    6. and the guy is ghey,too. (so was the Pulse killer)

  8. “Orlando Pulse Shooting a Reminder That FDA’s Gay Blood Donor Ban Is Incredibly Stupid”

    Isn’t this the very last thing anybody is thinking about?

    I wish I could laugh.

    1. It’s comforting thinking about people rushing to donate blood in light of a horrific act like this. Better than thinking about the asshole who committed it.

    2. Not, apparently, to the hordes of people who responded to the local pleas for blood donation that I saw on the news this morning. The fact that many or most of the survivors of this atrocity are literally prevented by law from giving seems kind of relevant to me.

      1. I hope you see the irony, here.

        On the one hand, we’re always joking about how Obama (and other progressives) never let a crisis go to waste. They use every opportunity to push their agenda.

        On the other hand, Robby is jumping on a still warm pile of corpses to make his case for gay blood donations.

        Once he gets to the top of the pile of bodies to make his case, he’ll find Obama, Trump, and Hillary all doing the same disgusting thing he’s doing–all with genuinely good motives, as well!

        Every day is a great day to condemn discrimination and homophobia. Doing it from the top of a pile of still warm corpses makes me want to puke.

        1. This is a specific complaint relevant to the context. There’s going to be a great deal of sophism in the coming weeks about gun control and Muslims, and a lot of baying for blood. An invective about a bad policy when there is an actually necessary call for blood is not the same thing.

          1. “This is a specific complaint relevant to the context”

            And gun control talk is somehow not relevant to a shooting?

            So, what you are really on about is nor relevancy, but “stuff I agree with.”

        2. ^This

        3. I don’t know if this is on Robbie’s “agenda” but I don’t recall him posting anything about the topic before. I think I have seen one or two articles about it over the years but I think it was before his time.

      2. And it’s too bad they’re a high risk group.

  9. Rule 1: Don’t use early moments to advance your longstanding grievances against immigrants, Muslims, or gunsstupid government policies.

    Seriously, Robby. It’s dumb as hell, but is now the time to climb up on the corpses?

    1. but is now the time to climb up on the corpses?

      Is Soave a German name?

      1. You know who else climbed up on corpses?

        1. Obama?

    2. Jesus Christ… Orlando hospitals put out a plea for blood donors. It’s not like Robby shook his 8-ball looking for a topic to write about.

      1. I’d much rather get another Trump article.

      2. I’m getting the impression that viewing Robby’s topic as a problem is based on internal bias.

        1. The topic is not a problem. The *timing* is, well, “unfortunate” is not the right word, because I assume that Robby is capable of A) reading Nick’s post before his own and B) making conscious decisions about the propriety of using a tragedy as an anchor to stake out a position in an argument.

          Is it so difficult for people to understand that, no matter whether the issue is popular or unpopular, political or apolitical, that it is unseemly to use the emotions surrounding a tragedy to try to score points?

          1. I don’t think you’re getting the full gist.

            Everyone. Including me. I see no emotional context here, no bloodthirsty political agenda. It is a relevant story being (sloppily, because Rico) reported on in a timely manner. Is that because this is so, or because I am generally not in favor of silly, repressive and unproductive government bureaucracy and thus I merely perceive it as so?

            Everyone has internal biases.

            1. I think a lot of peoples’ problem with this seems to be actually that it’s not about the actual tragedy.

              AND GODDAMMIT DONT YOU KNOW WE DONT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT THE TRAGEDY FOR A FEW DAYS HOW COLD R U?

              So it automatically LOOKS like trying to score political points, because tradition is that we only talk about the tragedy for a few days. How dare you distract America from its latest trage-porn. How. Dare. You.

              1. This is going nowhere fast for sure.

        2. I would also really like to see you try to pull *ONE POST*, even ONE, from the entire duration of my posting history here (which extends back to at the latest, 2003) that shows any substantial anti-gay bias.

          “Internal bias,” my left foot.

            1. Whatever, Doc.

  10. So ISIS just claimed responsibility for the attack.

    1. Which Christian group is that? When are we gonna Waco their asses?

      1. The Islamic State is another name they go by.

        The idiots on Fox, I don’t know who is dumber, the lefttards or the righttards. The Fox talking heads are going on about how we’re going to bomb them, put boots on the ground. Duh, they’re in fucking Florida you idiots, not Syria! And Obama and Hillary want the rest of them here too.

        1. They’re calling for troops in Syria as a response?

          How stupid do you have to be to think that is a rational response?

          1. That’s how stupid they are. They are already here and more of them are sneaking in courtesy of Obama’s refugee drive. They’re already here. How many are there? We don’t even know. So let’s go scatter them around in Syrian and other countries, create more refugee crisis so that more of them come in, that’s a great plan.

            1. Oh, and let’s make sure we take away Americans right to defend themselves from these savages. The cops will show up in 3 hours or so.

      2. Yeah, well I guess it could have been a Christian jihadist attack. The guy was screaming Allah Akbar while he was shooting, he called 911 right before the attack saying that he backed the Islamic State, and now the Islamic State is claiming responsibility. So sure, it might have been a Christian. We’ll wait for the Obama admin to figure it out.

        1. It’s a false-flag attack, obviously. No *true* Muslim would shoot up a bunch of gays. This guy was obviously perverted by white Christian bigots.

          1. Obama will blame it on Trump, or the NRA, or white people, or Bush, and say the only way to solve it is to take guns away from Americans and invite in more potential terrorists.

          2. Christians believe everything preachers tell them to believe. Mohammedans are different. They believe everything mullahs tell them to believe. Both consider it an offence against Faith to ask for evidence.

    2. “So ISIS just claimed responsibility for the attack.”

      And why wouldn’t they?

      1. The guy claimed to be affiliated with them also.

        1. I’ll be interested to see what that really means.

          Did he read their websites?

          Did he receive training from them in Syria?

          Big difference.

          1. So if I’m recruited online by a terrorist org, online, and I swear my loyalty to them and promise to carry out attacks on American targets, that doesn’t count just because I haven’t been to Syria?

          2. Look, here comes Ken making excuses for jihadis

            again.

      2. “And why wouldn’t they?”

        It’s a lot like Obama taking credit for an improving economy.

        It’s exactly what he wants, even if he didn’t directly do anything to cause it.

  11. I have no problem with the ban, as a gay man. Chances are over a quarter of those killed were HIV positive if they were mostly minority gay men at a club. Maybe even half. Gay culture glorifies having unprotected sex with as many strangers as possible. Chances are there were multiple people having sex in the bathroom of that club. That’s how every day club I’ve been to is. They’re more focused on ending the “stigma” and protecting people’s feelings instead of actually stopping the disease. It just isn’t worth the risk.

    1. Thank you.

    2. Thank you.

    3. Thank you.

  12. So it’s wrong for the media to use a horrible incident to push their agenda, except when it fits Reason’s agenda?

    Double standards much?

    And there are reasons for the ban – anal sex is much, much, much more likely to transmit AIDS, so gay men tend to get AIDS more.

    Sure they could blood test it (and they do), but they have to throw away tainted blood And dispose of it properly, since it is tainted. Ultimately you’re wasting a company’s money just for “feelz”. And seemingly want the government to force them to.

    1. “And seemingly want the government to force them to.”
      Exactly the opposite.

      The current ban *forces* Red Cross, hospitals, and so-on to reject certain people, even if (without the ban) they would accept the donation.

      Without the ban, those groups could continue the ban if they *wanted to*. They would not be *forced* to accept anything.

      That said, Red Cross and others have repeatedly said they *want* the ban to end.

    2. it’s not just the anal sex,it’s the promiscuity and anonymous sex of the homosexuals. they “get around”,and in higher numbers than normals.
      As evidenced by the high rates of HIV infection,WAY about the rate for normals.

      Tests are one filter,screening out the high-risk donors is another. The former isn’t so good that the latter can be discarded. Doing EVERYTHING possible to prevent accidental infection is essential.
      let’s not take shortcuts with the nation’s blood supplies.

  13. Heterosexual men and women who have had sex with multiple partners in the last year are not prohibited from giving blood, even though their sex is comparatively riskier.

    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races and ethnicities remain the population most profoundly affected by HIV.

    In 2010, the estimated number of new HIV infections among MSM was 29,800, a significant 12% increase from the 26,700 new infections among MSM in 2008.

    Although MSM represent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections. MSM accounted for 54% of all people living with HIV infection in 2011, the most recent year these data are available.

    Doesn’t sound like it.

    1. For decades, I’ve always directed folks to the CDC and their “surveillance reports”. And year after year the data always shows the same answer: When it comes to HIV in the US, MSM is your best avenue to infection.

      I wonder too: If one needed blood, and was offered blood from two inventories?with all other things being equal?one is from strictly MSM donors and the other is from zero MSM donors?.which would they choose?

    2. In college, my (straight) roommate slept his way through a dozen of my female friends. The entire time, I had sex with exactly one man, who is now my husband.

      Of the two of us, which do you think has had any STI?

      To put it in other words, you can ask about *actual* risk factors rather then assuming that straight sluts are fine, but monogamous gay men are toxic.

      1. How do you know your buddy wasn’t getting some action on the side? Have you been tested?
        The fact is,most gheys are NOT monogamous. They just want people to believe that. You can’t use your anecdote as a counter to the hard evidence the CDC has amassed. it’s PROVEN that gheys have much higher rates of HIV (and other STD) infections.

  14. I’ve interviewed doctors in search of an HIV infection that was absolutely not caused by unavailability of clean needles–none could think of a single case. All epidemiological data shows HIV spreading from the exact same foci that played host to hepatitis infections. Every city that banned over-the-counter needles in the late sixties had hepatitis, then HIV outbreaks. How is this not the result of prohibitionist coercion?
    The Senior Antisex League currently baiting gays is largely comprised of the same prohibitionists that had the bright idea of banning clean needles, and currently seek to replace Planned Parenthood with coathangers. We need them making more meddlesome laws?

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  17. It also ignores the fact that lots of gay men are monogamous, and only engage in safe sex with a single partner.

    Define “lots.” My impression has been that monogamy is definitely minority behavior among gay men.

    1. Don’t worry ‘lots’ of chambers in the cylinder of a revolver are empty during a game of Russian Roulette…

  18. The fact that blood is tested for HIV is only part of it. Anal sex is an extremely rich and effective disease transmission method. Banning gay men from donating reduces the chances of the spread of “unknown unknowns” — the next big blood-born STD pandemic that we don’t even know about yet.

    1. one thing unmentioned is that anal sex among normals has become mainstream,but the rate of HIV infection for normals has NOT increased to anywhere near the levels of the gheys.
      Because the normals are more monogamous (REAL monogamy),and largely don’t go for the anonymous hookups that gheys do.
      I recall The Advocate saying that ghey “marriages” are over 50% NOT-monogamous.

  19. Robby shouldn’t be writing for a magazine called “Reason” if he is unfamiliar with Statistics 101 and falls for something as stupidly simple as the base rate fallacy.

    Fact: Gay men have HIV infection rates by an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE greater than the population.
    Fact: HIV tests have false negative detection rates greater than 0%.

    Let’s just assume that the false negative rate is an optimistic 0.1%. The FACT is that amongst the non-gay population, virtually nobody has HIV (something like 0.5%). Amongst gay men, the HIV infection rate is a whopping 16%, at LEAST.

    With gay men excluded, the probability of a negative test result being false is one millionth of a percentage point. With gay men included, that jumps to a whopping six of a ten thousandth.

    Now you might think that the difference is “small” by just looking at the nearly infinitesimally small percentages, but in a pool of 10 million donors it’s the difference between having just 10 infected packs of blood with gay men excluded, or 6000 if you include gay men.

    This is why medicine should be left to the medical professionals.

    1. And that is just looking at whole blood products.

      A lot of donated blood gets turned into pooled blood products. Blood born diseases are to pooled blood products like e coli is to factory hamburger meat – a little infectious material can go a long, long way.

      1. But this isn’t about statistics 101. This is about Rico’s ‘right’ to not be stigmatized trumping our ability to have a reasonably safe supply of blood products.

    2. What, you mean the medical professionals that have been calling on the ban to be dropped for years? The medical professionals the FDA ignored when it chose it’s current half-measure?

      Those medical professionals? Sure. Listen to ’em and drop the ban.

  20. Orlando Pulse Shooting a Reminder That FDA’s Gay Blood Donor Ban Is Incredibly Stupid
    Federal government completely wrong about risks of gay men donating blood.

    All hospitals and blood are required to screen their donors for possible blood diseases or abnormalities.
    But we simply cannot have gays give blood.
    I mean, what would the neighbors say?

    1. “… required to screen their donors for possible…”

      Key words being ‘donors’ and ‘possible’ which is entirely appropriate since no test can reliably detect the presence of the HIV virus, nor Hep B virus, nor Hep C virus.

      Oh, we can detect immune response to those infectious agents, but there is always a window between exposure and detectable immune response. Which is why they screen everyone but only exclude people who have recently engaged in high risk behavior. Thus reducing the number of donors with ‘possible’ transmissible HIV, or hepatitis.

      1. I should also add that during that window between exposure and detectable immune response the virus is still doing it’s thing, and viral loads can get quite high making the infected individual likewise highly infectious.

  21. “Donated blood is always tested for HIV, making the risk of an infected person passing on the disease via donation effectively zero.”

    This really isn’t true. The test is for antibodies, which take time for the body to develop. If someone donates after a fairly recent infection then testing won’t find antibodies.

    1. Inconvenient facts like that are excluded.

      It’s a form of screening, doncha know.

      1. I am wondering if Reason isn’t shifting from libertarianism toward progressivism.

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  23. Wrong. First, about the testing: there is a “false negative” window of detectability. This window typically lasts about a month, but can be much longer if the dices roll wrong and the infection is combined with taking preventive antiviral formulations, such as Truvada. Second, the gay community is a high risk community. An average MSM has the probability of getting infected with HIV several times higher than an average non-MSM. So, the FDA guidelines are about reducing the risk, and are not outdated.

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  25. I’m a lapsed platelet and plasma donor who just recently started donating again at ARC. In two years the disqualifications have made a steep new line on the graph, and the intake counselor who signed me up for my recent donation lamented that the paperwork had gotten burdensome. Computers and bar codes help, though. And the lady with the needles was very competent…and a sharpshooter. She knew how to hit the bullseye without probing around.

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