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Tuesday, March 16 , 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Senators challenge FDA ban on homosexual men donating blood

The following is based on an article by Cliff Kincaid for Accuracy in Media.

While the Obama Administration and its “progressive” supporters in Congress insist they want a federal health care bill to protect people from deadly diseases, liberal senators led by John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) have pressured the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider lifting the ban on male homosexuals donating blood.   

Kerry, Franken and 16 other liberal senators insist they want the blood supply to remain safe and that donated blood must undergo two “highly accurate” tests that make the risk of tainted blood entering the blood supply virtually or nearly zero.

But writer and researcher Dale O’Leary says that male homosexuals, or men who have sex with men (MSM), as the FDA describes them, “expose themselves to such a wide variety of pathogens that medical professionals can never be sure that they have a test to identify every one of them. There could even now be something lurking out there, hidden in the blood of apparently healthy men, waiting.”

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O’Leary, the author of One Man, One Woman, and The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality, is writing a forthcoming report on the medical and health impact of admitting open and active homosexuals into the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Sen. Kerry argues that this policy is now arcane because we have tests to determine if donated blood carries the HIV, but the problem is not the diseases we know of and have tests for but the diseases which we haven’t identified as sexually transmitted and blood borne and don’t have tests for,” O’Leary said.

If the ban on gay blood is lifted, she warns, “the lives of all those who receive blood products are at risk. Hemophiliacs have every right to be worried, in the 1980’s they saw their community virtually destroyed by contaminated blood. We simply can’t be too careful. MSM are not at risk because they can’t donate blood. In fact, the prohibition may serve as a warning to them and others that certain behaviors carry an unacceptable risk.”

Tom Fahey, a man with hemophilia and HIV, formed an organization called the Committee of Ten Thousand to represent the estimated ten thousand people in the U.S. with HIV as a result of the blood transfusions needed to ensure clotting. In the past, this group, as well as the National Hemophilia Foundation, have defended the ban on gay men donating blood.

The proposed policy change is being driven by Senators Kerry and Franken and supported by Kirsten Gillibrand, Dick Durbin, Daniel Akaka, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sherrod Brown, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Casey, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, Mark Udall, Maria Cantwell, Carl Levin, Tom Harkin, Mark Begich, Roland Burris, and Michael Bennet.

They urged FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in a March 4 letter to review and modify the current law banning men who have had any homosexual sex since 1977 from donating blood. In response, the FDA released a statement to the press defending the ban.

“Our decision to maintain the deferral policy is based on current science and data,” the agency said.

Kerry then fired off another letter on March 9, once again demanding a review of the ban in order to accommodate the homosexual rights lobby. On March 12, federal officials caved to Kerry’s demand. The FDA said it would reexamine the issue, taking into account whether the current body of scientific information would allow “alternative strategies that maintain blood safety.”

The liberal political pressure worked because FDA commissioner Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg is a physician with “progressive” connections who served as Senior Scientist at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation funded by left-wing media mogul Ted Turner. She is also a former board member of the Drug Strategies group, which is supported by the Open Society Institute of billionaire George Soros and other liberal-left foundations.

The liberal campaign to lift the ban on gay blood comes only three years after the federal agency reaffirmed the ban after reviewing the scientific data. The FDA states that, “Male to male sex has been associated with an increased risk of HIV infection at least since 1977. Surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that men who have sex with men and would be likely to donate have a HIV prevalence that is at present over 15 fold higher than the general population, and over 2000 fold higher than current repeat blood donors (i.e., those who have been negatively screened and tested) in the USA. MSM continue to account for the largest number of people newly infected with HIV. Men who have sex with men also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion.”

The Family Research Council argues that Kerry and his fellow liberals “care more about the homosexual agenda than American safety…” For his part, Kerry in 2008 received a score of 100 percnet on a scorecard issued by the Human Rights Campaign, a major homosexual rights lobbying group.

At the same time that Kerry called on the FDA commissioner to lift the ban, he wrote a column for a homosexual paper in Massachusetts called “Bay Windows” arguing that changing the policy “won’t be easy” but that current law is “discriminatory” against homosexuals.

Kerry’s move has been praised by the media, especially the homosexual press, with even Fox News running a story failing to quote any critics of the proposed change in policy.

However, Cheryl Wetzstein of The Washington Times wrote a story about Kerry’s push for gay blood in which she quoted Mark Skinner, president of the World Federation of Hemophilia, as saying that “Blood-donor rules are discriminatory by design” but that the rules are grounded in science and intended to protect the end users, not target a group.

According to federal government information, “To date, no other population has been so greatly targeted by the AIDS epidemic as Americans with hemophilia, who have the highest infection rate of any population world-wide. Between the years 1978-1985 the blood supply and therefore much of the clotting factor hemophiliacs use to treat bleeding episodes became contaminated with HIV; as a result more than 5.0% of the estimated 20,000 hemophiliacs in the United States are HIV+ and as many as 90% of people with severe hemophilia are infected with HIV according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control.”

Sen. Kerry was also behind the congressional decision to authorize the lifting of the ban on foreigners infected with HIV/AIDS from traveling to and living in the United States, despite the increased federal costs associated with that change in policy. The Obama Administration officially lifted the ban last October.

“While the AIDS epidemic no longer has media attention,” O’Leary argues, “the fact is that the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among MSM continues unabated. In the 1980’s HIV infection was a death sentence and many MSM modified their behavior, but with the introduction of antiretrovirals HIV became a chronic disease. MSM experienced condom fatigue and returned to sex with multiple partners. They seek sexual partners on Internet sites like Manhunt. They attend circuit parties, at which thousands of men engage in 3-day orgies of music, sex and drugs. The epidemic is fueled by drugs and alcohol, including crystal meth, poppers, ecstasy and Viagra. In spite of the risks, MSM openly solicit partners interested in bare-backing — unprotected anal sex.”

O’Leary said that lifting the ban on gay blood could return us to what happened in the late 1970’s when men who have sex with men “were allowed to donate blood even though public health officials knew that the gay male community was in the midst of an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia tra­chomatis, herpes, hepatitis, Shigella sonnei, Shi­gella flexneri, Campylobacter enteritis, Campy­lobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritis; Giardia lamblia, Enta­moeba histo­lytica (amebic dysentery), and Entamoeba coli.”

Currently, she noted, “HIV infection rates among MSM continue to rise, particularly among young MSM. Other STDs are rampant among both those who are HIV positive and those who are HIV negative. An outbreak of syphilis was traced to men seeking sex on the Internet. There was an epidemic of MRSA — he so-called flesh-eating bacteria among MSM. There have been outbreaks of Shigella in several urban areas.”

While liberals like Kerry and Franken insist that diseases will be picked up by blood screening, O’Leary says that a new strain of Chlamydia that was not picked up by standard tests emerged in Sweden, “a warning that given the way epidemics of STDs spread we cannot be sure we have an accurate test for everything that is out there.”

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