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Outrage among people as US policy Bans Blood Donations by LGBT Community

The laws restrict homosexual people from donating blood if they have been sexually active within the past one year

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Gay Pride Flag. Image source:jarridwilson.com
  • Government turned away thousands of people including homosexuals who wanted to donate blood after the Orlando Shooting
  • The Federal ban policy was put in place in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic, and it barred gay and bisexual men 
  • FDA ban excludes the remaining 85 percent of gay men who would be suitable and safe blood donors

Thousands of people, including homosexuals, lined up to donate blood after the Orlando nightclub shooting. However, due to US government laws, they were turned away. The laws restrict homosexual people from donating blood if they have been sexually active within the past one year.

This caused anger and resentment among the gays. They are calling for the lifting of this federal ban.

Candlelight vigil for the Orlando nightclub shooting held at Morningside Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wikimedia commons
Candlelight vigil for the Orlando nightclub shooting held at Morningside Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wikimedia commons

The policy was put in place in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic, and it barred gay and bisexual men from donating blood out of fear that they were at high risk of being HIV-positive and could contaminate the blood supply.

Last year in 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the policy, allowing contributions provided the gay men had been celibate for one year.

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Scientific developments

Public health advocates, who argued for lifting the blood donation ban last year in 2015, say the policy does not keep pace with some recent scientific developments to safeguard the blood supply against HIV.

Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Fenway Institute in Boston, said the revised policy is still unfair. The Fenway Institute does public health advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.

According to Cahill, the so-called nucleic acid test is now available to detect the presence of HIV in a pint of blood in less than two weeks, compared with the months it used to take. The test is performed on all blood samples to make sure they don’t contain the virus.

Cahill said the second development involves a method of destroying most pathogens in blood, be they bacteria or viruses, including the AIDS virus.

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“Even if somehow an HIV-positive unit of blood gets through the systems that are in place, this pathogen inactivation technology could destroy the HIV in that unit of blood,” Cahill said.

Cahill said the one-year ban doesn’t allow for those males who are in monogamous relationships or who are happily married and are HIV-negative.

People in other high-risk groups are not barred from giving blood, according to Cahill. These individuals include those who have intercourse with sex workers, or intravenous drug abusers who may be donating blood in exchange for money to buy drugs.

Call for updated policy

Cahill called for a more refined blood donation policy.

“We would really like to see a policy that … distinguishes between high-risk gay and bisexual men and low-risk gay and bisexual men, and actually looks at individual risk as opposed to looking at people as members of groups.”

Cahill explained that 15 percent of gay men are HIV-positive in the U.S., but the FDA ban excludes the remaining 85 percent of gay men who would be suitable and safe blood donors. He also said that the supply of banked blood nationwide would increase by 2%-4% if this ban was lifted. He explained that it would also ease the social stigma that the gays feel in US.

prepared by Devika Todi (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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  • AJ Krish

    This is outrageous.Why deny those who genuinely care and want to donate blood? The law needs to be changed.

  • Ashwati Menon

    HIV virus is a disease that can be transmitted human to human not gay to humans!Homosexuals are also human beings! What kind of democracy are they practicing if all are not given equal rights?

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Twitter issues Apology for Censoring ‘Bisexual’ Hashtag

Twitter has been constantly brinigng out new rules for things like unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence

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Twitter app on a mobile phone. Pixabay

San Francisco, November 6, 2017 : Twitter which updated its policies last week to fight abuse in an efficient way has come under fire for censoring LGBTQ terms like “bisexual” on its platform.

According to The Verge on Monday, while updating its policies, the micro-blogging website also censored the “bisexual” hashtag under its adult content rules.

The biggest updates on the platform included abusive behaviour, self-harm, spam and related behaviours, graphic violence and adult content.

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Angry Twitterati posted against the move.

“If you search #bisexual and click on photos or news there are no results. This is bi-erasure. @Twitter has done this. We exist,” tweeted one user.

The updates last week were part of revamp to Twitter’s policies surrounding online abuse.

Reacting to the latest controversy, Twitter posted: “We’ve identified an error with search results for certain terms. We apologize for this. We’re working quickly to resolve & will update soon”.

Earlier in October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had said that the social media platform would take a more aggressive stance in its rules and its enforcement of them.

Dorsey, in his announcement which was a response to the #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, said that the platform would develop new rules for things like unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence. (IANS)

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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Impressive Health Benefits of Donating Blood

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benefits of donating blood
Donating Blood can actually make you healthier! Pixabay

Donating blood and staying healthy go hand in hand; thousands of people require blood every day in India but face a dilemma as the number of donators is comparatively less. Only one blood donation can save three lives.

Apart from regular blood donation one can also donate platelets which are done through a machine which filters the platelets and transports the blood back to the donor. This whole process takes around 70-90 minutes whereas a non-platelet donation takes only 45 minutes. Blood donors are supposed to 18 or above and are permitted to donate blood till 60 years of age in India.

Many are unaware that the process of blood donation is beneficial for both parties. Let’s talk about some health benefits of donating blood:

1.Reduces the Risk Of Cancer

One of the great benefits of Donating blood is, It can reduce the risk of cancer as the reduction of iron and iron stones in our body prevents the damage iron has been said to cause. According to a study published in the the Journal of the National Cancer Institute iron has been believed to increase free radical damage in our body and aging. A research conducted showed that a group of people who donated twice a year reduced their iron stores twice whereas another non donor group did not. The former group showed lower signs of cancer. The donation of blood is linked to the reduction in oxidative stress which is harmful.

The donation of blood is linked to the reduction in oxidative stress which is harmful. Pixabay

2. Protects and Preserves your Cardiovascular Health

A unifying factor for the risk of cardiovascular diseases is blood viscosity according to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. The damage done to your cells lining the arteries can be determined by how sticky and thick your blood is and how much friction is created through the vessels. The other benefits of Donating blood is, it decreases the blood viscosity and gets rid of the iron that could oxidize our blood. Oxidative stress damages our cardiovascular system. Blood donation also decreases the risk of hearts attacks and strokes specially participants aged between 43 & 61.

Blood donation also decreases the risk of hearts attacks and strokes. Pixabay

3. Calorie Burn

According to the University of California, One donation of blood can burn approximately 650 calories. A regular donor can lose a significant amount of weight but this is not a means of weight loss plan at all. In India, 50 kgs are the minimum weight required to donate blood. The donor should also maintain healthy iron levels in their body.

Testing is done for any possible diseases. Pixabay

4.Free Blood Check-Up

Before donating; donors are tested for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis and other diseases. Without testing, one cannot be eligible to donate blood as it is necessary to know what is in your bloodstream. Your blood can also be used for tests and research in the future upon your consent. So, here is one more benefits of donating blood, you can get your blood tested for free.

Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram; Twitter: @TanyaKathuria97