Editor’s note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Blood donations are down in the U.S. this summer. Gay men have been banned from donating blood because it has been connected to the spread of AIDS. But policymakers are re-examining that ban. The debate has raged among officials, and created a national conversation, as reflected in in CNN.com comments.
One commenter shared his personal experience with being unable to donate blood, saying he thinks the ban should be lifted:
My partner of many decades and I have been in a completely monogamous relationship since before many on this board were even born. And even within our relationship, we do nothing that is considered “high risk” of HIV transmission, though we are both HIV negative. Yet we are summarily prevented from donating blood. That is absolutely nonsensical. As the report points out, it is behavior, not the gender of the individuals involved, that matters. We are at FAR lower risk than a huge proportion of the heterosexual population, yet we are prohibited and they are not. This policy has served to stigmatize a group of people instead of keeping the blood supply safe.
Two other personally invested commenters expressed a different view:
So, I’m not allowed to donate blood (due to the fact that I’m gay). … And just so you know, I completely understand why (they) wouldn’t completely reverse the ban. While permanent deferral is a bit much, the fact of the matter is anal intercourse between two men is still a risky sexual behavior, especially if protection is not used or used improperly. I say do what England did last September and institute a temporary deferral.
As a gay, HIV negative health care provider who has been free of any sexually transmitted disease, I hold a different view with many other gay people. Until we have routine testing for HIV
This article originally appeared on: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/09/overheard-ban-on-gay-men-donating-blood/