Presenter Information

Lauren Lacy, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 2:00 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responding to the AIDS epidemic, adopted a policy of deferring men who have had sex with men (MSM) at anytime since 1977 from donating blood. The current policy, adopted in 1992, continues to defer this group indefinitely. This paper investigates the societal implications of the deferred status. I will first examine the unique relationship gay and bisexual men have with the AIDS epidemic in American history.I challenge the FDAs claim that the ban is solely rooted in behavioral practices, using data on rates of contraction, behavioral practices relevant to MSM (condom use, amount of partners, knowledge of partners AIDS status, prevalence of UAI, other STIs, etc.), and the rate of infection of black and white MSM as compared to other demographics that are deferred from donating blood. In doing this, I intend to address the overarching question: When, if ever, is it justifiable to discriminate against a demographic based on statistical data, and what are the implications in doing so? The FDA cites other deferred populations, such as intravenous drug users and sex workers, in its MSM ban. Does this conflation of sexual behavior and demographic identity do a disservice to MSM? Is it possible to extrapolate which sexual practices or patterns among MSM lead to HIV status, rather than defer the entire population? I will argue that the underlying factors of MSM stereotypes have shaped the research and conclusions on the MSM ban, and, in turn, the deferred status of MSM reinforces these stigmas.

Faculty Sponsor

Paul Josephson

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

873

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 2:00 PM

Bad Blood: Investigating the Ban on MSM Blood Donation

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responding to the AIDS epidemic, adopted a policy of deferring men who have had sex with men (MSM) at anytime since 1977 from donating blood. The current policy, adopted in 1992, continues to defer this group indefinitely. This paper investigates the societal implications of the deferred status. I will first examine the unique relationship gay and bisexual men have with the AIDS epidemic in American history.I challenge the FDAs claim that the ban is solely rooted in behavioral practices, using data on rates of contraction, behavioral practices relevant to MSM (condom use, amount of partners, knowledge of partners AIDS status, prevalence of UAI, other STIs, etc.), and the rate of infection of black and white MSM as compared to other demographics that are deferred from donating blood. In doing this, I intend to address the overarching question: When, if ever, is it justifiable to discriminate against a demographic based on statistical data, and what are the implications in doing so? The FDA cites other deferred populations, such as intravenous drug users and sex workers, in its MSM ban. Does this conflation of sexual behavior and demographic identity do a disservice to MSM? Is it possible to extrapolate which sexual practices or patterns among MSM lead to HIV status, rather than defer the entire population? I will argue that the underlying factors of MSM stereotypes have shaped the research and conclusions on the MSM ban, and, in turn, the deferred status of MSM reinforces these stigmas.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/270