Giving Plasma and Getting Embarrassed

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by D_Martin van Burden, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    I had been picking people's brains about giving plasma because I heard it was a good way to get some extra cash (and obviously I'm in need of it). I hadn't donated blood or blood products in many years, and thought the goodwill implications couldn't hurt hemophiliacs or burn victims anyway...

    ZLB Plasma Services has many locations across the United States and pays a donation for people who are eligible to donate plasma. The interior looks very much like an ongoing sidewalk sale, garishly colored posters compelling new and more frequent donations for certain incentives.

    The whole ordeal took three and a half hours, most of which was done in screeners and brief examinations and a lot of waiting around. Toward the end of the actual donation process, some nurse named Linda asked me to talk to her after I was finished. Slightly annoyed and rather cold after getting saline and my blood cells pumped back into me, we went to a private room. She asked me to re-read the AIDS Bulletin and then to confirm if I fit into any of those high-risk groups. I said no. She asked if I were sure. I re-read them aloud this time and said no again. She then added, "I have a moral responsibility of ensuring that these blood products are safe for the public." She told me to look her in the eye and state my answer, which I did, and then she muttered "I hate doing this because I have to make a judgment call." I whisked the PIN for the payment slip away from her.

    What the fuck?

    In a separate and clearly more professional sit-down with another official, I stated my embarrassment and shock at being persisted upon. I maintained that I had no MSM (men having sex with men) contact, and that the only exception was receiving a couple of blowjobs from guys a very long time ago, which was more than enough for ineligibility.

    I called the clinic back when I got home and asked to speak to Linda. I questioned the professionalism of her sit-down with me. She said that she had to ask because a colleague of hers had suspicions or maybe recognized me or someone that looked like me -- not sure; pardon my language, but some fag wearing a ridiculous haircut, a tacky eyebrow ring, and surely not hiding his sexuality when he says "Wakey, wakey!" tugging some guy's foot and asking him not to sleep during the process, really doesn't have the right to start up hearsay.

    I apologized for my lack of awareness. I thought the particular sexual behavior listed on the bulletin related to anal sex; I was wrong. I didn't apologize for demanding a more forthright, professional interview. I told her that she had no right to ask my orientation or even to dance all around it, and that I would gladly permit my plasma or blood to be tested for anything since God knows I ain't gettin' much in the way of bootie from either gender. Even better, I have had even more unprotected sex with women and not a single one of those encounters were brought into question.

    If hearsay and physical appearance are any indicators, so too might the plasma samples be destroyed of many urban poor persons who entered the clinic. My roommate overheard one official talking about the way in which he cleaned chairs as indicative of all the "trash" that comes in here. I primed Linda further, asking if she would question individuals who "looked" like they had used IV drugs or needles or engaged in prostitution or what have you.

    She kept going around in circles with me, evading my answers, and, frustrated, I hung up on her.

    I wrote a complaint in ZLB's customer survey, and I spent $15 of the $40 donation on some groceries.

    I wanted to post my story because I imagine it's going to take some time to cool down. I'm really pissed. I also wanted to dissuade people from donating because rationales regarding safety are incredibly weak in the face of demand for blood and blood products. The antiquated blood donation guidelines make men who have done anything beyond mutual masturbation and kissing permanently ineligible for blood donation in the United States. So, it would be reasonable to assume that no gay man of any frequency of practice at least 30 or younger could qualify; nor varying degrees of non-heterosexual; or, women who might have had contact with such a male.

    I got my dick sucked a couple of times (and not all that well, I might add) and I was in for a world of grief today. Please learn and pass this on.
     
  2. ericbythebay

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    The blood ban is FDA policy and the Red Cross supports it.

    A man receiving a blowjob from a HIV- man in a monogomous relationship is banned for life.

    A man receiving a blowjob from a HIV+ crack whore has to wait 12 months.
     
  3. Bacchusbigboy

    Bacchusbigboy New Member

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    Just a bit of trivia but you can’t be paid for any human donation in Australia. So Aussies give blood to save lives. The Red Cross looks after the service and so far we haven’t run out. There a very similar questions but before you give blood.
     
  4. Luvs2Luv

    Luvs2Luv New Member

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    I believe the restriction is male-male sex after 1976 or so. So it's not if you had male-male sex ever.
     
  5. DC_DEEP

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    Not technically, no; but in practical application, yes. How many men wishing to donate blood/blood products today were sexually active before, but not after, 1976? I don't have any stats to back it up, but I'm guessing that most donors are in their 20s and 30s. Not all, but most.
     
  6. zzorus

    zzorus New Member

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    Well, it's a good argument for not paying donors for blood donations.
     
  7. dudepiston

    dudepiston New Member

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    Um....wha? Not sure I'm following your line of 'reasoning' there.....but...

    I think the important things to take from this are that the method in which Dee was spoken to, the questions asked, etc. are nothing short of discriminatory. HIV, as well as other blood-borne diseases, can and often are transmitted via other methods than MSM activities. I think that's the point the OP was trying to make. Most humans from either gender or any orientation have not limited their sexual activities in their lives to mutual masturbation and kissing. I'm all for keeping the blood supply safe & clean and I also realize that Linda is just a cog in a wheel. I just think there's gotta be a better way to ensure the safety of all of us than having a well-intentioned nurse question Dee's sexuality over & over.


     
  8. DC_DEEP

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    I used to donate to the American Red Cross blood bank every time I was eligible - that is, after I gave blood, I would wait the minimum time, then donate again. I stopped, obviously, when they instituted their "no sexually active gay men" policy. I am still HIV negative, I have never had a sexually transmitted disease, I have never used intravenous recreational drugs. I have good, healthy blood, and they have missed out on gallons of the stuff, just from me.

    I also understand the need to keep the blood supply as clean as possible, but some of the policies in place are dating back to 1985, when HIV was thought of as "gay man's plague." We now know that is not the case, but the rules have not changed. What a pity.
     
  9. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    Thanks for allowing me to vent, folks. I re-wrote some of what I was talking about here on my blog, too, and I stumbled across the Red Cross's defense of their position. If you want to read my blog entry, here it is.

    I don't think it holds up. The MSM deferral pertains to safety, but there are plenty of other unsafe situations flying under the radar (e.g. blood-borne pathogens from promiscuous heterosexual behavior). The new incidence rate (as of 2002) shows that African-Americans make up 40% of new HIV diagnoses, as opposed to 44% within the MSM group. Higher infection rates also occur among people of lower SES and education, however many are also clumped into the two categories above.

    The Red Cross also points to a 2004 article explaining that MSMs "unique social relations, behavior patterns and experiences which relate to disease processes that could affect the blood supply." Call me suspicious, but I think that's some fancy prose for a stereotypical response -- that all non-heterosexual men are dangerously promiscuous. The number of partners deduced from an average gay man (not including all other MSM behavior) has tens of partners per year and over one hundred in a lifetime. The figures dated back to 1977 and 1984. Wasn't 1977 around the time homosexuality got lifted from the mental disease listings? And isn't 30 years just a little too late to maintain a scholarly point?

    (My professor refused the validity of our sources beyond 10 years, unless used to make a reference to debunked arguments.)

    Even worse than calling AIDS a gay man's plague, it seems that health officials are erroneously creating a slippery slope here. If you do pretty much anything with a guy, then it's akin to anal sex and equally akin to being gay, all under the wispy guise of "safety."
     
  10. DC_DEEP

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    Their rationale sounds almost like it was compiled with "statistical" information directly from the website of the Westboro Baptist Church. Frightening, indeed.
     
  11. fortiesfun

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    It is one of the appalling facts of life in our time that gay men are inegible to give blood for ridiculously discriminatory reasons, even when their blood is urgently needed, and even when it can be tested as clean.

    Few people realize how sweeping this policy is: It technically applies to any man who has ever had sexual contact with another male. (Yes, your teenage circle jerk counts.) It is stupid in the extreme and hurts us all.

    My pet peeve, related to this, was when my office went on a 100% participation drive and I had to patiently explain that I was not an eligible donor. A nice, but not too bright, secretary who had no idea this rule existed asked me to explain in a departmental meeting why I was holding them back from getting the award she so desparately wanted us to get. (In her defense, I am fairly sure that she thought I was afraid to give the blood and believed she could shame me out of my fears.) I calmly said that I just wasn't eligible to give blood, but would look into their getting the participation award since I was willing to give the blood, but just was not allowed to do so. Not satisfied, however, she asked very pointedly "why on earth" I could not give blood. So I explained.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how and where I first came out...
     
  12. B_Josh24NH

    B_Josh24NH New Member

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    I'm putting on my asbestos protective suit so I don't get flamed here. If I am wrong please be nice in educating me, but isn't donating plasma different from donating whole blood? I ask because if it's what I think it is there must be an even higher level of concern as it is not just given to one person. The possible risk is to hundreds or more if my memory about plasma products is correct.

    I don't mean to minimize your the negativity of your experience Dee. I don't want to cause any further pain. I'm just wondering if the extra pushiness is a result of the higher risk level to others.

    In my opinion if there is a concern the plasma should just be discarded without embarrassing someone with the level of grilling Dee received.

    I'm sorry you had to go through this Dee.
     
  13. B_Josh24NH

    B_Josh24NH New Member

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    The same invasiveness applies to groups who desire 100% participation in United Way and other targeted pledge drives. I was abused by several caretakers as a child burn victim. When complaints were filed with the agencies providing the attendant, nurse, or companion and with United Way, my parents were told I was lying. I'm careful not to give money to any of those groups now.

    My situation wasn't as emotionally deep as yours but I mention this merely to point out how group pressure sometimes insinuates itself into all of our profound private places. I do hope however that your coming out has been a good thing for you regardless of what precipitated it.

    People don't deserve pain wherever it comes from.
     
  14. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    Not exactly, Josh. Plasma can be converted into many different blood products for use; that's probably the only discernible difference in giving whole blood, which is largely used just for transfusion purposes. Plasma is part of anti-hemophiliac drugs and as a stabilizing agent for burn victims, among other uses. The criteria for blood and for plasma safety are the same.
     
  15. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    Yeah that sucks. I've given before and had to go through the whole rigamaroo... it seems retarded that they would exclude a man who had receieved a blow job from another man ten years ago and yet they ask almost nothing about irresponsible heterosexual activity. You could fuck 3 different girls a day and not remember any of their names and you're perfectly fine. On the other hand, pay once for a blowjob with a condom on and suddenly they don't want your blood anymore. It's really inconsistent. I know I'm clean but at the same time I know I can't donate if I answer all of those questions truthfully... so that's part of why I don't. It's just dumb that the riskier things I've done are not on the list of things I would have to lie about.
     
  16. kalipygian

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    Maybe they are still overcompensating as a result of being responsible for having themselves transmitting AIDS through transfusions of infected blood before test methods were developed.
    I (back in the 80's) thought that it was possible that plasma imported from Africa could have been how it first got to this country.
    I was surprised (several years back, from my mother, who was a social worker) to learn that selling their blood was an important source of income to street people in this country, still seems weird.
     
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