Volunteer blood donation is a substantial procedure involving a donor giving one of the following blood products: whole product, red blood cells, platelets, or plasma. Blood is vital to aid patients enduring surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, traumatic injuries, among others. However, this lifesaving care starts with an individual realizing that blood is constant and thus making a generous donation. Notably, from the annual data collection on blood donation, it is clear that only about 3% of age-qualified individuals contribute blood annually (Grace et al., 2020). The blood transfusion involves various restrictions; thus, everyone is not eligible for donating blood. Taking an example of the gay community, people with low levels of iron and recently vaccinated people, among others, are restricted from donating blood. However, from these restrictions enacted that aim at ensuring safe blood transfusion, it has been depicted that most of them contribute to the shortage of blood nationwide.
The national blood crisis is lethal as it exposes doctors and patients to making tough choices and making dozens of trauma centers and hospitals in dire need of blood donations. Nevertheless, the Red Cross, as one of the concerned agencies, posted the problems facing patient care as a result of dangerously low blood supply levels, which results in medical staff making difficult decisions on who to get the blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more blood is readily available. Nevertheless, the delayed immediate reprioritization of the current blood by blood banks to trauma centers will prompt closure in some times to come. Therefore, from the elevation in blood shortage nationwide according to the media reports as a result of heavy restrictions on blood donation, various debates have arisen which aims to discuss the restrictions to come up with ways of increasing blood supply. However, in the paper, focusing on the gay community as one of the restrictions that lead to blood shortage, It is therefore supported that lifting this blood donor restriction will eventually make the donation process easier and increase blood supply.
Safely lifting the limitations on blood contributions, especially in the gay community, can save many lives on an average annual. Notably, the rise in HIV and hepatitis B cases in recent years caused heavy restrictions on gay people, which were known to be the most at risk of contracting the viruses. However, since blood testing is done before transfusion, it is easy to detect any virus in the blood. Thus in reducing the blood crisis nationwide, restrictions on the gay community should be lifted, and the gay community to be allowed to donate blood. This will help increase the blood supply and save many patients’ lives. Therefore, proper blood screening should be conducted for safety rather than banning gays from donating blood.
Furthermore, from the increased shortage in blood supplies in hospitals and blood banks, the Food and Drug Administration, which is the policymaker in matters concerning blood supply, is forced to lift its decades-long blood ban that denies queer men from being eligible blood givers (Grace at al., 2020). Despite the gay community being considered a minority, it has a significant influence, especially when combatting blood shortage. Providing gay and bisexual men an opportunity to donate blood without any restrictions would help end the blood shortage crisis as more blood will be available. This will save millions of patients lives.
Nevertheless, it is identified that one blood donation can save up to three lives because your platelets can go to one patient, your plasma to another, your red blood cells to another. Therefore, a change to the policy by the FDA will allow gay and bisexual men who want to donate blood to proceed with the action freely. Notably, gay community blood donation does not have to be subject to discriminatory screening and deferral because it is out of step according to medical professionals and modern science (Grace et al., 2020). Lifting the gay community’s blood restrictions would have more advantages than expected. The FDA, as a policymaker, should therefore put science above the stigma. Ultimately, in the estimation of the overall population, less than ten percent of the population is donating blood; therefore, providing the gay community with an opportunity to donate blood could potentially help save lives.
In conclusion, various restrictions to enhance efficiency in blood donations also result in blood shortage. Notably, blood shortage is one potential nationwide crisis that affects patients in trauma centers and hospitals. By lifting gay community blood restrictions, millions of patients’ lives are saved as the process increases the blood supply. Through proper testing and screening of the blood, viruses are easily identified in the blood, thus becoming easy to discard impure blood and donate pure blood. The main goal is fighting the blood shortage and saving the patients’ lives; the gay and bisexual men willing to donate blood should be freely allowed to proceed with the action as it reduces pressure on doctors enabling them to make effective decisions in hospitals and the patients. It is, therefore, more significant to save millions of lives by changing the policy that restricts the gay community.
Grace, D., Gaspar, M., Klassen, B., Lessard, D., Brennan, D. J., Lachowsky, N. J., & Hart, T. A. (2020). It’s in me to give: Canadian gay, bisexual, and queer men’s willingness to donate blood if eligible despite feelings of policy discrimination. Qualitative Health Research, 30(14), 2234-2247.