Bad Blood

by Zoë Pollock

Americans are more likely to be killed by lightning than get HIV from a blood transfusion. Amanda Hess questions why “the lifetime donation ban on gay men still hasn’t budged”:

Today, several demographics are known to be at a heightened risk for HIV 76053392_d97fa9f54c_z infection —intravenous drug users, sex workers, blacks, incarcerated men. But rules for who can donate blood continue to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men. Intravenous drug users, sex workers, and people who have lived in certain African countries are also subjected to lifetime bans, but people who pay for sex or sleep with a drug user are only deferred from donating for 12 months. If you’re a guy who has sex with a guy—again, just once—your blood is deemed compromised forever.

Countries around the world are changing bans to deferrals, but in the UK that means you can give blood if you’re gay and haven’t had sex in ten years. Alex Blaze has more.

(Photo by Flickr user Aaron Edwards, who can’t donate because he’s gay.)