A while back I wrote about learning the hard way that by being a gay man, I am essentially banned from donating not just blood, but also bone marrow. I went into a tear about how I hated the assumption that because I have a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend, that must mean I have HIV/AIDS and therefore I should never ever be allowed to donate blood. Never mind that my own personal behaviors lean much towards being safe rather than being stupid, and I have been tested and know that I'm clean. I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way and want to have the rules changed, especially because I did give blood for a number of years before I came out.
So I find it extremely distressing when I start hearing the media report on remarks and reports coming from places like the CDC about new HIV infections, and the numbers are not good at all. What the media is saying is that when it comes to gay and bisexual men, they are fifty times more likely to catch HIV than those who are straight. Now one thing I could argue here is that they don't report that a comment in the CDC written report is that one reason the numbers could be going up is that more people are getting tested for HIV. However, still looking at the raw numbers, the highest groups are the ones who have had male-to-male contact every year.
Either way though, when you look at the numbers, they're not good, especially the numbers for people who are getting HIV through male-to-male sexual contact. Those numbers are going back up again after declining for a few years.
The point here is that it certainly isn't helping my cause to want to change the minds of those who help decide guidelines for things like blood donations. How can I convince them that someone like me when the numbers are coming back that people who have a similar background as I do are not only the ones who are catching HIV most often, but the number of new infections is going up?
So long as people continue to be reckless, then it's just going to give those who write the discriminatory rules and policies a justification to do so. They read these reports as well and in their minds, it tells them that it will continue to be better to do things like ban gay men from being able to donate blood because their donation will likely fail the disease screening and have to be thrown out anyway.
For fucks sake people, if you're with someone and the relations are relatively new, wear a condom, and/or make your partner wear a condom, period. Don't go off and have unprotected sex unless you and your partner both get tested and you're both monogamous. After that, if you two want to go at it raw, then by all means go for it, but only as long as it's just the two of you. Realize that only you can protect yourself from catching a disease, don't rely on a sexual partner to do it for you. Your actions do have consequences that can be far reaching and they do affect everyone.