Have you ever been in a situation where when you could do something you didn’t want to or but once the ability to do it was taken away it became a big deal?
That’s human nature for you, I guess.
A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine asked if I wanted to go with her to donate blood. I am much better about giving blood (for blood tests as a part of my annual checkup) now than I used to be, but sitting there and giving blood when I have a choice not to? That has never been my “thing”. However, I told my colleague to bring me back a pamphlet and perhaps the next time she was going I’d come along.
Now I know if I do go with her next time, it’ll be as a cheerleader: it turns out my blood is no good. Why? Because I lived in Nigeria after 1977 (I lived there between 1982 and 1985). I haven’t called to find out why this rule is in effect, but under the category of the pamphlet entitled HIV Virus Risks, it says:
There are certain things that people do that put them at risk for getting and spreading the HIV virus. You are at risk if:
â€¢ You are a male who has had sex with another male, since 1977
â€¢ You have used a needle to inject illegal drugs into yourself
â€¢ You have taken money or drugs for sex, since 1977
â€¢ You regularly receive blood products
â€¢ You were born in or have lived in any of the countries listed here since 1977: Cameroon, Central African
Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria
Now don’t get me wrong: I prefer that the Canadian Blood Services err on the side of caution with respect to the criteria affecting the blood they will accept. There have been blood tainting situations in the past that have led to deaths or the accidental spread of disease so I’d rather they not allow people who might introduce the possibility of disease rather than allowing everyone and trusting their technology to catch and remove any undesirable blood-borne diseases.
The only thing that irritates me is the part of the paragraph that says “There are certain things that people do that put them at risk for getting and spreading the HIV virus.” I bristle because I don’t think living or being born in any of the listed countries should be put in the same category as the other points, especially the first three. The first three points are things that people choose to do; you don’t choose where you’re born or live (at least as a child) and in the case of the fourth point, I’m sure those people receiving blood products aren’t choosing to receive them; it’s a necessity. I would prefer if they separated this section into two parts, with the first three points separated from the last two, and I’d likde them to include an introductory paragraph, briefly explaining why the African countries listed seem to have an increased risk of HIV, and also explaining why 1977 was chosen.
Anyways, I’ll call this week and find out, and get back to you. For those living outside of Nigeria, does the country you live in have similar blood donation criteria?
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