Mon, Nov 19, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CDC rejects rumor; says gay men still can’t donate blood

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has rejected an online rumor about blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM) and increased risk of receiving HIV-infected blood.

As five referendum questions about gender equality education and same-sex marriage are to be put to the vote on Saturday alongside five other referendums and the nine-in-one elections, anti and pro-LGBT groups have been taking various approaches to promote their stances.

A rumor has spread over the Line messaging app claiming that MSM are more likely to carry HIV and the outdated method of screening blood donations in Taiwan might fail to detect HIV-infected blood, so “donating a bag of blood will kill a person.”

The CDC last week in a news release rejected the claims.

“The regulations on blood donations from MSM have not changed and people with HIV/AIDS are not eligible to donate blood,” it said.

The CDC notifies the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation on all newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients every day, it said, adding that the patients would be permanently barred from donating blood.

All blood donations are screened and any HIV-infected blood is destroyed, it added.

The foundation has been using the latest nucleic acid test to screen blood intended for transfusion, and there has not been any case of HIV infection through blood transfusion since the adoption of the technology in February 2013, the CDC said.

HIV is primarily transmitted through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, and high-risk groups for HIV infection differ between countries, it added.

An analysis of HIV-positive people in Taiwan showed that unprotected sex among MSM was the highest risk factor, accounting for about 80 percent, the CDC said.

However, it said the cause was unprotected sex and not sex between men, as heterosexual men or women who do not use condoms when having sex with HIV-positive partners can also become infected.

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