The movement to “overturn the decades-long ban on gay/bi men donating blood” continues to grow as Florida State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), an openly gay man, is promoting what he says is the “groundbreaking” ADVANCE organizations study to help flip the ban preventing gay men from donating blood.
“I'm here to invite gay and bi men in the Orlando area to please be a part of this amazing and historic advance study here at the LGBTQ center this is a great opportunity for us to work together as a community to overturn the ban on gay and bi men donating blood we need an additional 200 gay or bi men living in the Orlando area between 18 and 39 years old,” said Rep. Smith
The ban was imposed in the 1980s at height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, where just about every single man who contracted HIV died from AIDS. The AIDS epidemic was first known as a “gay man’s disease’ because it started off almost exclusively plaguing the gay community.
There wasn’t a lot that was known about the disease when the ban came down, but over the years, the rates of infection and death have declined to medical research, research that has produced a wide array of “cocktails” to treat the deadly disease.
But just as the cases of AIDS have declined over the years, there have been spikes of infections from other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as Syphilis and Gonorrhea.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Gay and bisexual men are also at increased risk for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Having another STD can greatly increase the chance of getting or transmitting HIV.”
The Floridian spoke to one 20-something gay man in Wilton Manors today and asked him if he was scared about contracting HIV. The young man “Blaise,” as he likes to go by and who asked that we did not use his real name, said that he wasn’t afraid of catching HIV because he would be able to treat it. Blaise also said that Syphillis was going around the community like wildfire and that that too could be treated.
In addition, HIV cases in the gay community were only down 7 percent between 2014-2018, with the majority of the injections occurring within the very same age group Rep. Smith is targeting when promoting ADVANCE’s survey.
The CDC also claims that 69 percent of the roughly 38,000 new HIV cases reported in 2018, we from gay and bisexual men.
While the number of HIV cases continues to decline, should the ban be lifted even as 69 percent of all new cases are among gay men? Should the federal government lift the ban even with such a high infection rate among gays?