RESOLVED: Homosexuals (or MSM) should be able to donate blood
Debate Rounds (5)
Since the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic decimated their community, gay men — or MSMs (men who have sex with men) as they are called by federal agencies — have not been allowed to donate blood. This ban has been present for way too long and has overstayed its welcome in the United States. The original intentions of this ban were to prevent the spread of AIDS/HIV due to a lack of technology to test the blood. Obviously it is 2012 and this law is no longer necessary.
Anyone who believes different can accept this debate, although I will ask/recommend for a few things:
The first round is for acceptance, I will state my case in the next round.
jd325494523 forfeited this round.
Homosexuals in America are still human beings, and they deserve to be considered equal just as every other citizen. In addition to being human, their sexuality does not make them any less of a person. Today, homosexuals are denied 1138 rights, benefits and protections; laws against discrimination (based on sexuality) only exist in 20 states in the United States, that leaves 30 states where homosexuals are not protected from hate crimes. As mentioned earlier, this ban was put into effect during a time when there was a lack of technology to test people with AIDS/HIV, but as everyone can see, it is 2012, and we are more than capable of testing people for AIDS/HIV efficiently. It is for these reasons and those that follow that I am compelled to affirm today's resolution, RESOLVED: Homosexuals (or MSM) should be able to donate blood
Contention 1: It is illogical to make generalizations about groups of people. When asking why exactly gay men were specifically banned from donating blood, the answer is that "In 2009, MSM accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections." therefore, in order to take precautions the U.S. has banned homosexuals from donating blood. While it has been statistically proved that the majority of MSM have AIDS, it is not necessarily fair to assume that every man who has sex with another man is HIV+. Heterosexuals are also more than capable of engaging in unprotected sex, (the point of this statement is not to target heterosexuals, but rather to address the fact that regardless of one's sexuality, anyone is capable of engaging in protected/unprotected sex.) but they are still not banned from donating blood. One might argue that this is due to the fact that a smaller percentage of heterosexuals are infected, but that will be addressed in my next contention, the purpose of this contention is to explain why generalizations are ineffective. The reason homosexuals have been banned from donating blood is because the majority of them have been statistically proved to carry AIDS/HIV, but the majority is not always representative of the group as a whole. A statistic from the United States Department of Justice states that between 1974-2004, 52.2% of homicides had been committed by African-Americans. Obviously homicide is a serious issue in the U.S. so what precautions should be taken in order to prevent future homicides? A ban on African-American citizens in the U.S.? No, because it would be illogical to generalize that African-Americans were responsible for homicides with 47.8% of innocent African Americans who have not committed any crimes. That is exactly what this ban is doing, only with homosexuals. 39% of homosexuals remain HIV- and it does not make very much sense to punish them because other MSM have AIDS. If the intentions of this ban were truly to stop the spread of AIDS, then everyone would be tested before donating blood. A law banning a specific group of people only succeeds in creating a double-standard.
Contention 2: Heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals by far. By looking at the statistics from a glance it seems as if the number of MSM who have AIDS/HIV is larger than the number of heterosexuals that have AIDS/HIV, but when you actually take the time to research the statistics the honest answer is revealed. So according to the statistics, 27% of heterosexuals have been infected with AIDS/HIV through heterosexual contact and 61% of MSM were infected through homosexual contact. According to Gary Gates, demographer-in-residence at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, homosexuals made up an estimate of 1.7% of the United States population in 2011. That is less than 2% of the population in the United States leaving 98% of heterosexuals. What the statistics fail to mention is that, the 61% of MSM with HIV is actually 61% of less than 2% of the population, whereas the 27% of heterosexuals who were infected is actually 27% of 98% of the population. Clearly the number of heterosexuals infected is significantly larger than that of the number of homosexuals infected. Therefore, with intentions of preventing the spread of AIDS, does it make very much sense to ban the group of people with the smaller population?
Contention 3: It would be more efficient to test individuals. Creating a ban on a specific group of people not only segregates, but creates a double standard. With a significantly higher number of heterosexuals infected, it does not seem logical to ban a group of people and allow a group with infected members to continue donating blood. Safe sex can be practiced by anyone and to assume that it can only be practiced by heterosexuals is ignorant. It would be much easier and less controversial to test the people who wanted to donate blood before they donated blood.
In conclusion, this ban hasn't helped stop the spread of AIDS, it has only succeeded in segregating homosexuals once again in addition to angering many people. This ban is outdated and unnecessary.
"United States HIV & AIDS Statistics Summary" July 15th 2012. http://www.avert.org...
I will not be arguing that homosexuals aren't human beings or that they don't deserve equality. You won't hear me quoting Leviticus because that isn't what this policy is about. This policy is about eliminating HIV the same way health officials eliminated smallpox. Medical researchers are working toward a vaccine everyday, but until then they have to work on containing the virus. Which brings me to my first contention:
1. MSM are excluded in order to reduce the spread of HIV, legal rights are not infringed upon.
HIV is found predominately in MSM in the United States, and although MSM only represent a small fraction of the population; incidence among these men is nearly three times higher. More than this many men living with HIV aren't aware they have it until it develops into AIDs. Of those diagnosed with HIV in 2008, 33% went an average of 10 years before being diagnosed. It's estimated that 20% of those living with HIV aren't aware that they are infected, and that this rate is even higher among MSM. These measures are put in place to keep the infection through blood transfusion as close to zero as possible.
Also excluded are heterosexuals who have sex with those at high risk for HIV infection (MSM, IDUs etc.) for the same reason. The number of non-excluded heterosexuals who were diagnosed with AIDs (as a percentage of those diagnosed with AIDs) in 2009 was less than 0.9 % (compared with more than 50% among MSM).
Although I agree with my opponent that the state of gay rights in this country is a travesty, I believe it is important to realize that this isn't a rights issue. Equality before the law needs to be protected. Marriage, adoption, social services are issues of gay rights and inequality. This is a matter of fighting HIV and taking the precautions necessary to reduce infection rates.
2. We cannot simply test everyone who wants to donate blood because tests have limits (time and money).
Medicine has come a long way since HIV began infecting people, but it still isn't perfect. In particular testing is limited by the science behind it. HIV detection methods are based on antibodies that develop in a person in response to an HIV infection. The development of these antibodies takes time which can affect the false negative rate (the chance that the test incorrectly indicates that a person is not infected). At 3 months, the test is practically full proof, with the possibility of an infected person being cleared at less than 0.03 %. Around one month; however, at roughly one month antibodies aren't detectable in infected persons (the false negative rate is ~ 100%). In other words, even if we could test everyone who volunteered to donate blood, the test wouldn't mean anything unless they hadn't had sex for the last three months.
3. Testing everyone would also raise the costs of blood bank, which need to be kept low in order to provide affordable access. As I stated above, there are limits to testing that are unavoidable. In order to donate blood and be cleared to do so by HIV testing, blood donors would need to abstain from sex for at least 3 months before the test could give a reliable result. In addition to this, testing everyone would significantly raise the costs associated with blood donation which would be passed on to the hospitals and patients. 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions every year. That's 1.5 million pints of blood. Since a person can only donate a pint, even if the test cost ten dollars, that is more than 15 million dollars a year added to the costs of running the blood bank. The blood bank doesn't exist to discriminate against a particular group simple because of prejudice, instead they select eligible Americans in order to prevent the spread of disease.
4. Blood banks would be unfairly held responsible for blood transfusion infections.
Removing the eligibility requirements would increase the chances of a blood transfusion infection. In the event that such an infection occurred, blood banks would be held responsible although they could have gone through the tests and asked all the questions necessary. The legal costs would be passed on to hospitals and patients.
This policy isn't some arbitrary infringement of a people's rights, it's a methodical attempt by the scientific community to beat HIV/AIDs. Only 37% of Americans are actually eligible to give blood (I'm a healthy 20 year old college student and I'm not even eligible) but it is only because these Americans pose no risk to the blood pool.
Moving on case…
They don't exclude based on a generalization that MSM all have HIV but rather a statistical analysis of donors.
As I said above, only 37% of Americans are eligible to donate blood. That's 115 million Americans. According to the CDC, in 2009 less than 313 Americans in this eligible group were diagnosed with HIV. While among MSM 17,005 were diagnosed with HIV. It is based upon the risk factors alone that the policy exists. My opponent has failed to prove otherwise.
JP check your numbers. You state in contention 2 that "27% of heterosexuals who were infected is actually 27% of 98% of the population." Were that true we would be in serious trouble. That would be more than 80 million Americans (more than 25% of our population). In reality just over a million people suffer from HIV, roughly half of whom are MSM.
"Basic Statistics on HIV" July, 15th 2012. http://www.cdc.gov...
Cross apply this to aff's contention one as well.
It would be less efficient to test individuals as I have already stated, cross apply my second and third contentions. More homosexuals are infected and unaware (see CDC link), and the blood banks do not assume that safe sex is only practiced by heterosexuals. Any heterosexual who doesn't practice safe sex is excluded. The heterosexuals that are eligible are eligible because the statistical probability that they would have HIV and not know it is practically zero. It is not based on any assumptions.
The eligibility requirement is necessary, lawful, and doesn't represent any attempt at promoting inequality but is simply a part of fighting HIV infections in the U.S.
jd325494523 forfeited this round.
jd325494523 forfeited this round.
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