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I volunteered at Spokane Falls Community College to staff an on-campus blood drive for the Inland Northwest Blood Center on Thursday, October 18, 2007 sponsored by the Associated Women Students and the Associated Student Government.  As a male survivor of child sexual abuse, I have had sexual contact with a man after 1977.  Since the first time I was abused, I have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration from donating blood.  Because my wife has had sexual contact with me in the last 12 months, she is also banned from donating blood.  Our blood tests are clean for all sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

The ridiculousness of this ban is demonstrated by the fact that a woman who had syphilis and gonorrhea 13 months ago and who had sex with a person living with AIDS 13 months ago and who has spent the last 71 hours in jail is NOT banned from donating blood.  Blood banks rely on standard blood tests to screen this donor's contribution.  But, as a survivor of child sexual abuse, I am victimized again every time I see a blood drive poster reminding me of the consequences of my abuse.

This irrational ban persists in spite of objections from the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers, the American Association of Blood Banks, as well as the Inland Northwest Blood Center.  "It is the Inland Northwest Blood Center's position that the best medical and scientific information available should be used to establish the deferral criteria for all groups thought to be at increased risk for transfusion-transmitted infections."

The FDA needs to update its policy and move from fear mongering and homophobia to science and screening.

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jreilly4261

May 2009

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