Blood Simple

There’s a Blood Shortage, Yet Blood Bank Policies Prohibit Certain Groups From Donating. Discrimination or Necessary Precaution?

image E'Treea Tropp
Age 33
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Publicist for yoga center

Do you donate blood? I just started thinking about it because of the blood shortage, and because I read a book that, among other things, stressed the importance of donating blood.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? Everyone is susceptible to HIV and AIDS, from babies to someone who had a one-night stand. What about a guy who had sex with a hooker and took the virus home to his wife?

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? Yes, and if I knew I were going to have surgery, I'd store some of my own blood in advance.


image James Cuevas
Age 42
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Photographer

Do you donate blood? No. I just went through this when my mother was very ill and she requested blood expanders instead of transfusion because of her religious beliefs.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? Blood is for every human person. What about people from Africa, where the risk of AIDS is very high? It's discrimination to start including some people and excluding others.

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? Yes. On the back of my driver's license it says, "No blood," by which I mean no blood transfusions. The Bible warns against blood simply as a matter of health. Everyone should educate themselves about the safe alternatives to transfusion.


image Chris Mezera
Age 24
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Musician

Do you donate blood? Yes, I have regularly donated since high school. I had trouble for a while because of my piercings. You can't give blood within nine months of getting something pierced.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? The HIV virus is just as likely to have come from a heterosexual female as a homosexual male. New York is a melting pot of sexual orientation.

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? No, I'd rely on the greater medical wisdom of the New York City blood experts.


image Leyle Williams
Age 28
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Teacher

Do you donate blood? No, and unless my parents forced me to at some point and I blocked it out, I never have donated blood. I have a dramatic aversion to needles.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? I don't know. Is it discrimination or a matter of discretion? I don't know what purpose it would serve to let everyone donate blood regardless of the risk factor. You have to choose your battles.

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? If my instincts told me to exercise caution, I'd take the time to investigate the screening process.


image Pascal Raymond
Age 31
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Film editor

Do you donate blood? I did back in high school, but it's not something that crosses my mind now.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? No, it's discriminatory and unnecessary information. It's also geared towards the belief that people in the gay community aren't practicing safe sex.

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? I would be very nervous because I've heard too many stories about contamination. Because it's a business with so many companies involved, you can't be sure that all the blood suppliers are screening at the same level.


image Monica Cheng
Age 19
Resides Queens
Occupation Student

Do you donate blood? I'd like to, but I'm underweight, so I can't.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? I don't know. I could see that it might be both discriminatory and a safety precaution.

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? Yes. I really don't know how safe they've been able to make the blood supply.


image C. McCrory
Age 36
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Circus performer

Do you donate blood? I have in the past, but not recently. The procedure is horrifying to me.

Should gay men be excluded from giving blood? It's a very complicated issue. I'm sure the people who are working on the screening process are making decisions based on wanting a reliable blood supply, but who knows if the blood is ultimately clean?

Would you be worried if you had to have a transfusion? Any medical procedure gives me the heebie-jeebies.

 
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