Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No News

From a recent New York Times article on gays in the British military -- this paragraph sums it up:
Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue. Gay Britons Serve in Military With Little Fuss, as Predicted Discord Does Not Occur

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gay men remain banned for life from donating blood, the government said Wednesday, leaving in place a 1983 prohibition meant to prevent the spread of HIV through transfusions.

The Food and Drug Administration reiterated its long-standing policy on its Web site Wednesday.

Before giving blood, all men are asked if they have had sex, even once, with another man since 1977. Those who say they have are permanently banned from donating. The FDA said those men are at increased risk of infection by HIV that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion.

In March 2006, the Red Cross, the international blood association AABB and America’s Blood Centers proposed replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. New and improved tests, which can detect HIV-positive donors within just 10 to 21 days of infection, make the lifetime ban unnecessary, the blood groups told the FDA.

In a document posted Wednesday, the FDA said it would change its policy if given data that show doing so wouldn’t pose a “significant and preventable” risk to blood recipients.

“It is a way of saying, ‘Whatever was presented to us was not sufficient to make us change our minds,”’ Bianco said.

The FDA said HIV tests currently in use are highly accurate, but still cannot detect the virus 100 percent of the time. The estimated HIV risk from a unit of blood is currently about one per 2 million in the United States, according to the agency.

Critics of the exclusionary policy said it bars potential healthy donors, despite the increasing need for donated blood, and discriminates against gays. The FDA recognized the policy defers many healthy donors but rejected the suggestion it’s discriminatory.

Anyone who’s used intravenous drugs or been paid for sex also is permanently barred from donating blood.

May 23, 2007 10:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yeah, that Food and Drug Administration, they're really looking out for us.

JimK

May 23, 2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called high risk behavior, Jim, and I am glad they ask.

Okay, you, Jim - have to get an operation. Would you rather get a blood donation from 8 40-year old single gay guys or 8 40 year old moms ?

It is your life on the line, now, Jim - fess up ?

which would you pick ?

For me, that decision would be very easy.

May 24, 2007 12:55 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Anonymous writes,

It's called high risk behavior, Jim, and I am glad they ask.

Okay, you, Jim - have to get an operation. Would you rather get a blood donation from 8 40-year old single gay guys or 8 40 year old moms?

It is your life on the line, now, Jim - fess up ?

which would you pick ?

For me, that decision would be very easy.


Thank you Anonymous for asking the question, but as I have seen in the past Jim is rather reluctant to answer such questions as they do not square with the Teach the "Facts" ideology.

As for me? LOL...goodness, is that a trick question? The moms, without a doubt...and that is a big part of the reason I give blood on a semi-regular basis. I lead a plain vanilla life style and try to take as few risks as possible.

May 24, 2007 7:02 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

There is no added risk from a donor being gay. There was a time when blood was contaminated with HIV because there was no good test for it. That was a long time ago. If that's what you think, that you catch AIDS from "gay blood," then you're wrong.

If you're just worried about catching The Gay from a transfusion, then ... you've got worse problems than that already.

This is the same FDA that says it's OK to eat pork and chicken with poison in them? Come on, they're not looking out for anybody's health, they're just being political idiots. The ban on gay blood donors is nothing but homophobia -- a term you won't see me use very often. This is nothing but prejudice in its purest form.

JimK

May 24, 2007 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FDA consists of mainstream professionals. I thought you had more respect for credentials than that.

Well, let's not have any more talk about how homosexuality is approved by "mainstream professional associations."

If this agency of professionals is banning tranfusions from gays because of the danger, I'd assume they'd also say other bodily fluid exchange with gays is also dangerous.

Let's make sure that's in the new curriculum.

May 24, 2007 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Female-to-female transmission of HIV appears to be a rare occurrence.
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/qa34.htm

I'll take my transfusions from lesbians because they have a lower incidence of HIV/AIDS than heterosexual women.

But as Jim points out, even the CDC (under the Bush Administration) plays the homophobia card:

A study of more than 1 million female blood donors found no HIV-infected women whose only risk factor was sex with women. Despite the absence of confirmed cases of female-to-female transmission of HIV, the findings do not negate the possibility.
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/resources/factsheets/wsw.htm

It's a safe bet that some political appointee -- one who was screened by a Monica Goodling type who judged politics to be more important than expertise and experience -- wrote the second sentence in that CDC quote.

It's another safe bet that the FDA decision to continue the ban on gay men donating blood even though there are quick and effective blood tests that can determine the safety of each blood donation was made by similarly appointed political hacks.

May 24, 2007 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-
The FDA is not made of mainstream professionals - the decision makers have been political appointees. The hold on things like Plan B- was not a medical or safety decision. And as anyone knows(maybe not Anon)- no matter what the administration(although this one ahs been particularly dumb), most fedreal agencies have political appointees making decisions based on politics, not knowledge.

I give blood so watch out anon- you might catch the liberal open minded thing.
Andrea

May 24, 2007 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Diabetes drug raises fears of another Vioxx
Discovery of heart risks with popular pill renews criticism of drug regulators

Associated Press
Updated: 6:19 p.m. ET May 22, 2007

First the painkiller Vioxx; now the diabetes drug Avandia. Another big drug safety issue has consumer groups, doctors and congressmen calling for an overhaul of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

On Monday, a medical journal published an analysis suggesting that Avandia raised the risk of heart attacks and possibly deaths. More than 6 million people worldwide have taken the drug to control blood sugar since it came on the market eight years ago, and about 1 million Americans use it now.

Cases like this will continue “until we are able to get a better system of drug approval and surveillance,” said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a Harvard Medical School professor and author who has criticized the FDA for not watching more closely for problems with drugs it has approved.

The consumer group Public Citizen said the FDA has failed to require Avandia’s maker to adequately warn about the dangers of the drug. And Consumers Union called on the agency to make results of all consumer drug testing public “so doctors, researchers and patients can more quickly know about a drug’s possible risks.”

Pooled results of dozens of studies on nearly 28,000 people revealed a 43 percent higher risk of heart attack for those taking Avandia compared to people taking other diabetes drugs or no diabetes medication, according to the analysis published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18783816/

If it hadn't been for the career FDA scientist, Dr. David Graham blowing the whistle on the political appointees above him at FDA, there would have been many more than the estimated 5500 people who died from Vioxx until it was pulled from the market.

Why is Avandia still on the market?

May 24, 2007 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The FDA is not made of mainstream professionals - the decision makers have been political appointees."

The decision-makers in these big professional associations are political too.

May 24, 2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: ""The FDA is not made of mainstream professionals - the decision makers have been political appointees."

The decision-makers in these big professional associations are political too."
You and I, Anon, are also "political"...but neither you nor I has the power to establish public policy, and either enforce or ignore it, as do political appointees. As to who should be "banned" from donating blood - how about prostitutes, their Johns (usually suburban "family first" types, rapists, victims of rape, "open (heterosexual)proponents,"swingers",serial "monogomists", and the myriad heterosexual others who engage in unprotected sex that lead to syphillis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, - even HIV/AIDS - and other STI's?
Bob

May 24, 2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The decision-makers in these big professional associations are political too.

No they aren't. "The decision-makers in these big professional associations are" experts in their fields of study, not idealogues on a political mission to confuse the public about important scientific discoveries.

Interestingly, what your statement does Anon is to describe precisely how the Bush Administration works:

The Bush administration has moved to exercise direct control over environmental agencies by installing political appointees including Philip Cooney, a former oil industry lobbyist, as chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality, and a 23-year-old college drop-out who was made a public affairs officer at Nasa after working on Mr Bush's re-election campaign. Mr Cooney told the committee yesterday: "My sole loyalty was to the president and advancing the policies of his administration."

Documents released yesterday show that in 2003 Mr Cooney and other senior appointed officials imposed at least 181 changes to a strategic plan on climate change to play down the scientific consensus on global warming. They made another 113 alterations to minimise the human role in climate change, and inserted possible benefits of climate change. "These changes must be made," said a note in Mr Cooney's handwriting. "The language is mandatory."

Some of the statements deleted on Mr Cooney's instruction were non-controversial, such as: "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment." He also deleted references to models indicating that temperatures have been rising for the last 1,000 years. However, amid such deletions he chose to highlight a study funded by his former employer, the American Petroleum Institute.

Under heated questioning, Mr Cooney admitted yesterday that the changes were all intended to cast doubt over the impact of global warming. He denied they were directly coordinated with the White House but said he had regular conversations with a senior White House aide. "We got notes from them," Mr Cooney said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2038120,00.html

Come on Anon. Name one leader of either of the two APAs or the AMA who is a 23 year old college drop out who expresses "sole loyalty to...advancing the policies of" anyone or anything other than scientific integrity and discovery.

May 24, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Blood may not be donated by man who admits at the blood-bank that he has had sex with a man since (what? 1977, I think). That is, out, open and honest men who have sex with men. I prefer the HIV tests to the questionnaire as a way of safe-guarding the blood supply.

Btw, people of African descent have as high or higher rates of HIV infection than men who have sex with men. Would you support the FDA banning black people from giving blood? Think of the firestorm that would cause.

I say we just accept blood from married women and lesbians. Much safer.

rrjr

May 24, 2007 11:46 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Btw, my friend who works on a transplant team says there's a parallel stream for donors and recipients who are HIV-positive. I wonder if it would be cost-prohibitive or medically inadvisable to run a parallel blood-donor system. I suspect a concern is different strains of the virus.

rrjr

May 24, 2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 24, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

It has long been known that men and women, collectively, do not perform mental tasks identically. And previous research has suggested that gay men perform mental tasks in a manner closer to that of heterosexual women and that lesbians perform mental tasks in a manner closer to that of heterosexual men.

An article in the April 2007 Archives of Sexual Behavior discusses a study by University of Warwick researchers of 109,612 men and 88,509 women which confirmed these observations.

For example, heterosexual men and lesbians performed better at spatial orientation tasks and heterosexual women and gay men performed better at verbal skills.

This is further indication that orientation is “hard wired” and pre-natal.

May 24, 2007 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all social conditioning, Randi.

May 24, 2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm gay, but I'd be able to donate, because I've never had sex with another man. Hah!"

May 24, 2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at May 24, 2007 3:19 PM

Anonymous, if it were all social conditioning then gay men would perform the same as straight men and lesbians would perform the same as straight women. They don't because they were born different. If it were all social conditioning they would all have grown up straight.

May 24, 2007 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone ever tell you you're kinda dense?

May 24, 2007 4:06 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, some of the most homophobic bigots out there (Regina Griggs, Charles Socarides, Dick Cheney, Randall Terry, etc.) have had gay kids. If they couldn't socially condition there kids to be straight no one can.

And talk about dense - you still haven't explained how a son's gayness causes same chromosone deactivation in his mother, according to you that's how it works and not the other way around. And you still haven't explained how being gay changes a person's finger length, hearing acuity, eye-blink rate, and the different odours they produce - according to dense little old you by some magic being gay causes these things rather than being an indicator that gays are different from birth.

May 24, 2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

" have had gay kids. "

I read an article that suggested that being conservative leads to having gay kids. There does seem to be a pattern.

rrjr

May 25, 2007 8:30 AM  

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