The Instigator
TheShamelessTruth
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Homosexual men should be allowed to donate blood

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,436 times Debate No: 35488
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

TheShamelessTruth

Pro

Round 1-Opening Arguments
Round 2-Rebuttal
Round 3-Rebuttal
Round 4-Conclusive Statements

Round 1-I do feel that homosexual men should be allowed to donate blood. The blood has to be screened so if there is something wrong with their blood it will not be used. So there really is no good reason to stop homosexual men from donating blood. I find the practice of denying someone blood based on an assumption of a willing donor to be foolish, especially when any skepticism can be easily proven. Homosexual men are not the only ones in risks of HIV/AIDS. Virtually everyone is at risk of contracting this disease. However, to single out one group of people and just stop them from giving blood means that you are discriminating against them based on a bias, and the unwillingness to test these blood samples shows an unwillingness to cooperate. This bias and bigotry has effected those in dire need of blood transplants and when it comes down to saving a life I'm sure their are no mentally sound people who would mind the clean blood of a gay man.
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction

This is an incredibly touchy subject and I completely understand why my opponent would find himself frustrated with this policy. From the looks of it, the FDA is practicing explicit discrimination by barring 2% of the population from donating blood.[1] But let’s give the FDA and CDC the benefit of the doubt before we start calling them bigots operating at the height of some discriminatory fascism. Let’s remember that donated blood is for the explicit purpose of aiding in the health of other individuals. The primary concern then is not the feelings of those who can or cannot donate, but rather the health of the patient who may end up receiving donated blood. Thus, some nondiscretionary safety measures are rightfully in order.

For instance, gay men are in no way singled out. People who travel to certain countries are barred from donating blood. People who have received animal tissue or organ transplants are restricted, and people who are intravenous drug users are restricted[2]. These restrictions are part of a multilayer safety procedure that seeks to reduce the risk of infected or unusable blood through preliminary screening questions. This way, if something DOES go awry during blood testing, say a botched test, the likelihood of that blood being infected is still low because of those preliminary screenings. With this in mind, I will present two arguments that when conjoined clearly show that the current ban on blood donations from MSM (men of have sex with men) is justified.

1. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and other infections disproportionately affect MSM.
2. Recent infections can yield negative test results

HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and other infections disproportionately affect MSM.


Shown here is a horizontal bar chart entitled,

Reports gathered by the FDA and CDC show that even though MSM make up approximately 2% of US population, they make up 61% of all new HIV infections. To ignore this glaring disproportional statistical reality would be irresponsible. Moreover, 77% of HIV infections have been attributed to MSM. With gay men bearing such a statistically significant share of HIV infections, it is professionally responsible to eliminate their donations in prescreening.

Furthermore, gay men share a disproportionate share of viral Hepatitis. 10% of new cases of Hepatitis A and 20% of new cases of Hepatitis B are attributed to MSM.

While it is true that donated blood is screened before use, even this is sometimes not enough. For instance, a patient in Colorado received a blood transfusion during a kidney transplant in 2008 and contracted HIV because the donor who donated lied on his prescreening about having anonymous sex with men.[3] This is an example where prescreening, if not fabricated, would have successfully prevented a recipient from contracting HIV where blood tests had afterwards failed.

Thus, as evidenced by actual cases where blood tests fail to prevent infected blood entering the medical system, it is abundantly clear that a multilayer safety guard is necessary. Prescreening and barring individuals who have an inordinate statistical likelihood to carry noxious viral ailments transmitted through blood transfusion is professionally responsible and medically justified.

Recent infections can yield negative test results

The FDA as acknowledged that, though HIV tests are highly accurate, they still cannot detect HIV 100% of the time. They have also acknowledged that there exists a “window period” shortly after initial infection that causes HIV to go undetected by HIV testing methods. Basically, during the time after infection “a person is infected with HIV, but may not have enough virus or have developed sufficient antibodies to be detected by available tests. For this reason, a person could test negative, even when they are actually HIV positive and infectious. Therefore, blood donors are not only tested but are also asked questions about behaviors that increase their risk of HIV infection.”[4]

Conclusion

Because tests cannot always detect HIV infections and multilayer safety measures are professionally responsible for any corporate entity dealing with the health of others, there exists a reasonable and measured justification for barring MSM from donating blood. To believe that MSM should be allowed to donate blood to avoid discrimination is to believe that the health of recipients of donated blood is trumped by the feelings of a small minority who shares a disproportionate share of one of the most deadly and pandemic viruses of all time.

InquireTruth

Debate Round No. 1
TheShamelessTruth

Pro

First I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting the challenge. Now I'll go over some key points. The HIV/AIDS statistic may be misleading since most people who have HIV don't know they have it. Also, due to the fact that researchers at first thought that HIV was the "gay disease" homosexual men are more cautious and more likely to get tested, thus they contribute more to the statistic. However, many heterosexuals live in denial of the disease still or many times are just ignorant as to how non-discriminatory the HIV can be. You are right that donating blood is for the help of individuals, but denying clean blood does not help those individuals. http://www.bnl.gov...

That article shows the demand for blood, and I know the FDA is trying to be precautions but there precautions are not necessary. I say this because the same problems a homosexual donor have are ones a heterosexual donor may have, so the end all be all should not be whether or not one has sex w/ men, but we need to rely on the tests themselves. You told a story of a man who got infected because another man decided to lie about having sex w/ men. However this situation could have been prevented if a better test was done, and if a heterosexual person had the virus and the test went awry, the same event would have occurred. Also, it has also been shown that African Americans, and more specifically African American women also are at huge risks of having and contracting HIV/AIDS. However, barring these people from donating blood is not logical, because each of them can be tested with great accuracy like you said, and denying them is denying a patient the blood he or she needs.

I do understand the need to filter things and counting risk behaviors is one of them however, many risk behaviors are far too widespread so it becomes discriminatory when only one group is targeted for this risk behavior. I understand that needle injecting is a risk behavior, that only drug addicts or other drug users would partake in (for the most part). However, another risk behavior that can contaminate blood is not men on men sex, but sex as a whole. The FDA only recognizes homosexual sex as a risk behavior, but they should acknowledge that anyone who has sex is putting themselves at risk. Also, since many of these questions can be easily lied about, why not ask the questions that make more of a difference. Have you ever had sex without a condom. A homosexual man who has had sex w/ a condom is at far less risk then any heterosexual who hasn't.

I guess the basis of my argument is that the FDA may have good intentions but are not filtering sexual risks the correct and most effective way. If their going to bar off people from donating blood because of sex related things, then they should ask questions that are more directly linked to blood tainting diseases. Homosexuality is not one of these things. Homosexuals may be statistically higher carriers but we have to look at what can affect these statistics, http://www.cdc.gov...

and at the end of the day most people don't even know they have HIV. My fear is that we may be filtering out more clean blood then tainted blood. Mistakes can happen, but they can also happen with anybody. Just because you filtered the gay men who were not virgins does not mean that a heterosexual still can't pass along the virus. So what is important here is the blood tests, since that's the only true determining factor of the safety of someone's blood. But if we must filter out people for unsafe behavior the FDA should filter out the behaviors that are more risky, like the needle sharing and travelling you listed, but instead of filtering out an entire group of people let's filter out an unsafe behavior (I know they target gay sex and not gay people, but that would mean the homosexual would have to be a virgin so most homosexuals would still be singled out). My final point is unsafe sex puts people at risk for blood contaminating diseases not homosexual sex. Whether homosexual or heterosexual unsafe sex greatly increases the chance of contracting a disease, and if a condom is used correctly and doesn't bust then the chance for someone whether homosexual or heterosexual contracting an STD is close to 0. These are the questions that matter, who the person has sex with doesn't matter as much as how safe was the sex.

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org...

http://www.cdc.gov... (please give this a quick look and you'll notice that what you said about men having sex with men is similar to what statistics show about black women, point being we can't let that stop them from donating blood)
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction

I would like to thank my opponent for continuing this debate with me and I look forward to his last round. Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure that any of what was said in his bygone round amounts to an argument suitable to overcome what I have already presented. It is true that many people do not know that they have HIV, but certainly not MOST, like my opponent said. In fact, current statistics suggest that 1 out of every 5 HIV carriers do not know they carry it. However, it only follows from the evidence that out of those 20%, there is a 77% likelihood that they are MSM (as this comports with the statistical trend). Despite the conspicuous absence of a strong case by my opponent, I will still address his arguments accordingly.

There seem to be at least four arguments that my opponent is defending:

1. Heterosexuals have the same problems
2. We must rely on Tests alone
3. Having sex is a risky behavior
4. The FDA should ask questions more directly linked to blood tainting diseases

Heterosexuals have the same problem

It is not true that heterosexuals as a general category carry anywhere near the statistical risk that men who have sex with men do. According to trends, there is a 77% probability that any new reported cases of HIV will be from a man who has had sex with a man. This is an inordinate and demonstrably disproportionate risk burden on a verifiably minute subset of humanity. Let’s look very seriously at the statistics at this present moment.

There are approximately 300 million people in the United States. Out of that 300 million, only 33% of them are eligible to donate, which is approximately 104 million eligible donors. Somewhere in the range of 75 million people are ineligible due to medical restrictions, the rest due to age restrictions. To be fair, if we take the midrange estimate of the population of MSM, which is 4% (3.9% really, but let’s make it easy and say 4%), then that means there are approximately 8,840,000 MSM. If took MSM off as a prescreen risk behavior and thus subtracted the 8,840,000 MSM from the medically ineligible list, it would still be safe to say that 21% of the 8,840,000 MSM would be medically ineligible for some other reason. This leaves approximately 6,983,600 eligible donors, only 10% of which are likely to donate, leaving 698,360 donors to be gained by removing the MSM ban on blood donations. Statistically, such an increase is incredibly insignificant, a hairs-breadth over half a percent (0.67%).[1][2]

What is worse is that this is actually quite generous, as this does not take into account the fact that MSM actually have a statistically greater chance of having other medical conditions (viral hepatitis) that would significantly lower their eligibility.

We Must Rely On Tests Alone


It is not clear why my opponent believes that we must rely solely on tests, especially when he seems to contradict himself when he talks about other risk behaviors. Groups with statistically higher risk of Malaria, Hepatitis, HIV and other blood borne ailments should be screened for. This includes IV drug users, prostitutes and those who frequent their services, and those who travel to countries with a high risk of these problems (especially Malaria). In fact, based on the numbers, a much stronger case could be made for lifting the ban on IV users, prostitutes and those who frequent their services, and those many who travel to any of the many restricted countries.

My opponent has also neglected to reconcile the facts of my previous round with his argument here. We cannot rely on tests alone, despite their high rate of accuracy, for the precise reason that they are not always accurate! Moreover, it would be professionally irresponsible to have no other safeguards then these tests in place, where human error, test inadequacy or other factors could lead to infected blood entering the donor reserves. The facts state that available HIV tests are not always adequate. I will quote again from my previous round, “a person is infected with HIV, but may not have enough virus or have developed sufficient antibodies to be detected by available tests. For this reason, a person could test negative, even when they are actually HIV positive and infectious. Therefore, blood donors are not only tested but are also asked questions about behaviors that increase their risk of HIV infection.”

Having Sex is a Risky Behavior

It is so abundantly clear from all the data available that MSM have a lion share of the HIV burden, a share so disproportionate with their population that to deny this is deny reason outright. Any risk that is assumed by those who practice sex other than MSM and prostitution, is so negligibly smaller then the risk assumed by MSM and prostitution that trying to equate them in any way is rationally impossible. Yet I curiously await what sort of data my opponent will share in order to make this argument.

The FDA should ask questions more directly linked to blood tainting diseases

My opponent makes the erroneous claim that it is smart to weed out the risky behaviors of traveling and needle sharing with their questions, but thinks that MSM is not nearly as risky. This is demonstrably false given the data, as I have already shown in my previous round. 77% of HIV infections have been attributed to men who have sex with men. Moreover, the most recent case where tests fail to yield positive results for blood that was, in fact, HIV positive, was from a man who had sex with a man yet lied on his test. This shows that such behavior is obviously risky AND that tests are not a surefire indicator of infected blood.

Conclusion

All the available data suggests that MSM is an enormously risky behavior and that allowing people who participate in such behavior to donate blood would assume too much liability, leave no reason for banning other less risky practices (needle sharing, prostitution, country traveling), and be professionally irresponsible. When dealing with the health of others it is best to play it safe, and it is much safer to deny blood donations from those who carry a significant risk of having infected blood, especially with how many have HIV but do not know it.

[1] http://www.benthamscience.com...
[2] http://www.hhs.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
TheShamelessTruth

Pro

My opponent basically ignored my arguments. I also agreed that there should be filters but went on to say MSM is not an effective one. I said the most effective filter regarding sex would be those who were protected versus those who weren't. A point never brought up by my opponent. He or she, (I'm sorry I didn't check your pic or name to confirm) listed MSM as being more dangerous then any form of prostitution but that was not my argument. I argued that unprotected sex is the most risky behavior. If my opponent can somehow argue that homosexual male sex is more dangerous than unprotected sex then he can prove it to be the most beneficial standard. But if he or she cannot then it will stand to reason that the FDC are using a filtering standard that is ineffective in comparison to a filtering standard that can be used just as easily.

(Sorry for the short response but I am on a busy schedule) There may be a few capitalized I's, missing commas, and slightly misspelled words, but none of it should distract from the context. Again I do apologize to the readers of this debate for how rushed my response had to be.
InquireTruth

Con

To be more judicious than my opponent, let it be noted that I did attempt to distill the arguments of his latter round. Rather than assume some wanting clarity on my opponent's part, let's just say I must have missed his well articulated case for an alternative method of filtering. What is his proposed method? Well, why not filter out those who have unprotected sex?

That's the argument. Apparently filtering out MSM is an ineffective method, though were not shown how or why. Instead, the most effective method would be to filter out groups of people who engaged in unprotected sex. Let us at this point note a few very important things about my opponent's argument. (1) He as merely asserted his case without showing anything by way of poll, statistics or any data at all that would serve to confirm his argument. (2) Asserting an argument without any evidence and then demanding that I prove it wrong is an exceptionally poor way of trying to fulfill burden of proof. (3) Even the dataless assertion that we ought to filter by the category of unprotected sex is spurious; no, it's something in the realm of worse-than-false. Any man who has sex with a man since 1977 is forbidden from donating blood. Does my opponent intend to argue that instead the filtering question should be, "have you ever had unprotected sex from the time of 1977 until present?" This would bring the donor eligibility level down to a handful of nuns, eunuchs, virgins and the exceptionally rare man who has never once known the true feel of a woman (or man as the case may be) without his latex. No blood donating system could survive such a ridiculously chaste system.

Or perhaps he has come to recognize that the statistics regarding MSM are, indeed, accurate, and that perhaps there should be a question that reads, "Are you a man who has had unprotected sex with a man between 1977 until present?" If this is the case, my opponent will have to present us with a cogent case and hopefully some data that shows how this question would successfully screen for and defer high risk donors. I presently see a number of significant problems with it. In a study where researchers analyzed 50 studies from 14 different countries, it was found that there is a 15% failure rate of condoms that result from their misuse. Condoms already have a 2% failure rate if used 100% correctly, which means that through the duration of any sexually active life, it is actually statistically LIKELY that over the course of 100 protected sexual acts at least 2 of them were likely fail in protecting you. But studies actually show that it is not likely that condoms are used 100% correctly, meaning that it is actually likely that 15 out of every 100 protected sexual encounters fail to protect the user and recipient.[1] Thus, with 1/5 of people who have HIV not knowing that they have it, a screening question that asks about protected male anal sex would not effectively filter out those who may have HIV but not know it because they do not know that their protection failed (and if they have had sex 86 times, it is likely to have failed at least once).

The FDA has admitted that it would change their policy if there was scientific data showing that a change in policy "would not present a significant and preventable risk to blood recipients." My opponent is welcome to take on the challenge and support his claims with scientific data.[2]


[1] http://www.webmd.com...
[2] http://www.fda.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
TheShamelessTruth

Pro

TheShamelessTruth forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Con

I will not burden the reader with anymore to read. Please extend my arguments and accept my warm regards for my opponent who took on a very difficult topic.

InquireTruth
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by jzonda415 3 years ago
jzonda415
TheShamelessTruthInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: F.F.
Vote Placed by MisterDeku 3 years ago
MisterDeku
TheShamelessTruthInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
TheShamelessTruthInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The Con made a great argument, and sourced it well.