The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Absurdities

My blood has been deemed impure. Don’t worry, it’s not some ethnic-cleansing dictator determining it or a plot of a bad wizarding movie, it’s merely the opinion of the FDA, American Red Cross and the New York Blood Center. If I donate blood, I may cause an epidemic, 60 years from now.

I was born on a military base in Wunderbar Augsburg, Germany in 1988, and lived there for two years. This disqualifies me from giving blood because there is no blood test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human variant of mad cow.

Military bases in Europe were mostly supplied with beef from England, where there was an outbreak in the ’80s. So anybody who lived on or near a U.S. military base in Europe for more than six months between 1980-1996 is ineligible to donate. Live there for five months and 29 days eating steak every day? You’re good. Getting breastfed by a woman who doesn’t eat red meat and then eating pureed vegetables for about a year? Too bad.

According to most in the medical community, the incubation period for vCJD could be almost 60 years, so apparently there’s a huge worry that an outbreak will kill us all in about 2060. Well, the joke’s on them, because global warming will kill us all by then anyway–or whoever’s left after the rapture.

Though there has never been a recorded case due to blood transfusion in the U.S., there is no blood test for it, and vCJD has a long incubation period, and though I did feel inadequate when I tried to donate on campus last week, I’m fine with it. It’s understandable.

But you know who else’s blood is impure? The gays. Men who have had sex with men since 1977, to be exact. Why 1977? Because on January 1, 1977, AIDS magically came into existence in gay men. Every good scientist should know that, according to the FDA, who mandates the standards of blood donation.

Even if it’s protected sex, and even though blood tests can detect HIV/AIDS between 10-21 days of transmission now, gay men still cannot donate. This is a complete and total injustice.

I’ve seen True Blood. These vampires are having sex with everybody–man on vampire, gay man on vampire, woman on vampire, woman and man on gay vampire–and drinking everybody’s blood. It’s pretty wild. Now, the women involved in these constant sexcapades (there’s a lot on that show) are completely free to donate, and if they were to have sex with a gay man, they would be completely free to donate after a year.

Yet, gay men still cannot donate. And neither can any male who had sexual contact only once–think about the number of hazed frat boys that this applies to.

For its part, the Red Cross and other blood donation groups have also come out against this injustice. When the FDA voted to continue the ban on gay men in 2007, the Red Cross stated it was “scientifically and medically unwarranted,” with the VP of America’s Blood Centers declaring “I am disappointed [with the FDA’s decision].”

Basically, the FDA has looked at an issue with all scientific and medical data declaring that the ban on gay males from donating is completely unnecessary; and with blood centers in a constant need for blood, they have decided that common sense is unnecessary (Especially considering that in 2008, heterosexual contact was responsible for 30% off HIV/AIDS diagnoses, according to CDC statistics).

If you want to act on this issue, there are plenty of petitions online and plenty of organizations you can support, including GLAAD–or you can write your congressmen and tell them get involved.

Above all, no matter how ridiculous some of their guidelines might be, please, DONATE BLOOD whenever you can. There are always drives on campus, and if you’re eligible, donate. And if you want to feel impure like myself and gay men, watch a season of True Blood.

Ugh. You’ll have to shower after that.

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