Does A Grading Policy Foster Cheating?

What causes academic cheating? When it comes to academic cheating I don’t do it, I don’t condone it and I detest it, however I am not ignorant to the fact that it does happen. When it comes to cheating in any sense of the word it comes down to the individual %100. However, when it comes to cheating in the academic field the environment itself can create excuses that a student would use in order for them to feel that they have no choice but to cheat.

In outlined the results of a study concerning the frequency of the article titled “Academic Dishonesty of Undergraduates: Methods of Cheating” Michelle Witherspoon, PhD Nancy Maldonado, PhD and Candace H. Lacey, PhD outlined the results of a study concerning the frequency of cheating as well as the methods used to cheat.

In their study they write that “society has communicated the concept that students need to acquire a degree for future employment, financial security, and personal reasons” and that the grades the students receive play a very important role in attainting that degree. The study goes on to say that because grades play an important role students are under pressure and therefore anxious about the grades they receive.

As a student myself I feel the pressures: worrying whether or not I will finish an assignment on time or have enough time to study. Being a college student means you have to setup a schedule, be it in your mind or actually writing out a list. While I do the best I can there are only so many hours in a day that I can give to studying, especially when I take more than one class. There have been times where I have sacrificed sleep in order to get my work done.

In a system that measures a student’s value based on letters and numbers there will always be cheats. Someone will always want to have an A or a %100 on their final paper and will feel that their best isn’t good enough and therefore will cheat to get it.

The grading system, on its face looks like a road map that leads to achievement and success. However, if you look deep enough, it is a system that leads students to compare themselves to others. Students can say “he received a better grade than I so therefore he is smarter than me.” I know that because I have personally said it to myself.

In another article titled “Academic Dishonesty: Cheating Among Community College Students” by Pat Gallagher Moeck he writes “[w]ith the pressure of a bad grade looming, some students will resort to submitting an illegally acquired paper rather than try to author their own work.”

He goes on to say that “[w]ith tremendous pressure and competition for grades, some will cheat or plagiarize to maintain a high GPA.” A higher CPA can please parents, lead to scholarships, and impress potential employers.

According to Moeck’s article he states that the percentage of students who cheat in college can vary from 40 to 90 percent and for those who cheated at least once at 90 percent.

This current system leads people to feel insecure about their abilities. These doubts and insecurities are the factors that make the student feel or believe that cheating is the only option.

Moeck writes that students with lower grades cheat more often than those who do not, men cheat more than women, students with low self-esteem or that are high strung and those who do not manage their time effectively are more prone to cheat.

There are many students who may feel that plagiarizing is cheating but taking medication, such as Adderall is not.

The Baruch College code of academic honesty defines cheating as “the attempted or unauthorized use of materials, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise.”

If I were judging Adderall by Baruch’s own definition then using the drug is considered a form of cheating.

According to the website, ADHDNews.com, “Adderall is a stimulant drug which contains an amphetamine. It is used to improve attention span and decreases impulsivity.” Because of its effect it has on improving attention span it can be seen as a study aid especially if not prescribed to you.

When it comes to Baruch and cheating I don’t feel that there is more or less than any other college. The only thing that I know is that there is cheating.

However Moeck writes that cheating is more prevalent among business majors, undergraduate students as well as younger students engaged in social activities.

The study of Witherspoon, Maldonado and Lacey also stated that “graduate students in general are cheating at an alarming rate, and business school students are cheating even more than others.” Their study, which comprised of 186 undergraduate students in 11 general education open to all majors in an unnamed urban college, stated that 20.3% of the students said they had never cheated but that 79.7% admitted to cheated at least once.

Once again as I have said before it is %100 the person’s choice whether they choose to cheat, but the environment and the pressures faced within the environment can make students who would normally adhere to the rules feel that cheating is the only option.

 

Life Saving Blood Supply for America Act: My Argument For Congress To Change Or Abolish The 1983 Ban On Homosexual Men Giving Blood, Put In Place By The FDA

If I were elected to the House of Representatives for one day and was given the power to have a bill argued on the floor this would be it: 

H.R.1983
Life Saving Blood Supply for America Act

In this policy I will argue that the 1983 ban on homosexual men giving blood, put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), should be abolished or changed. For my argument I will outline the procedures and improvements that have since been created to insure that blood transfusions of every potential donor, especially those of homosexual men, are as safe as can be for the possible recipients. I will also discuss how the donation of blood by said men can help and improve the situation of the shortage of blood donations and supply currently in the United States. To further illustrate its significance several facts about the importance of blood will be outlined. Because of the current ban put in place by the FDA people who are eligible to donate blood have chosen not to. Furthermore, I will demonstrate, through examples, that these men would happily give blood to help out others who need it. Finally I would discuss how other countries have at least relaxed or done away with the ban concerning homosexual men. My ultimate goal in developing this policy is for the United States to think critically and ultimately relax or abolish their ban on homosexual men and blood donations.

The Discovery of AIDS and the FDA Ban of 1983

The FDA’s ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) being able to donate blood was put in place in 1983 at the high of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. The history of the ban dates back to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[1] and their finding contained in their weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a report prepared and released by the CDC that, according to their website is “the agency’s primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, accurate, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.”[2] In the weekly report dated June 18, 1982 it stated that between June 1, 1981 and April 12, 1982 the center had received 19 reports of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) and/or pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). Those cases were confirmed through biopsies. The cases involved previously healthy individuals living in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.  In their investigation they collected the sexual histories of 13 individuals, eight (8) with KS and five (5) with PCP. It goes on to explain further that “Within 5 years of the onset of symptoms, 9 patients (6 with KS and 3 with PCP) had had sexual contact with other patients with KS or PCP. Seven patients from Los Angeles County had had sexual contact with other patients from Los Angeles County, and 2 from Orange County had had sexual contact with 1 patient who was not a resident of California. Four of the 9 patients had been exposed to more than 1 patient who had KS or PCP. Three of the 6 patients with KS developed their symptoms after sexual contact with persons who already had symptoms of KS. One of these 3 patients developed symptoms of KS 9 months after sexual contact, another patient developed symptoms 13 months after contact, and a third patient developed symptoms 22 months after contact.”[3]

In their editorial note within the report they go on to give two hypotheses on the cause of these cases. One hypothesis being that an infection, at that time not yet identified, caused acquired cellular immunodeficiency and that was being transmitted through the sexual contact of homosexual males and thus may be the underlying cause of the KS or PCP. If this is true, according to the report, then the sexual partners of those infected may be at and increased risk of developing KS and/or PCP.[4]

The other hypothesis was that sexual contact with people infected with KS or PCP did not directly lead to acquired cellular immunodeficiency but “simply indicates a certain style of life. The number of homosexually active males who share this lifestyle may be much smaller than the number of homosexual males in the general population.”[5]

They end the report by stating that contact to certain substances, and not the infectious agent, may “eventually lead to immunodeficiency among a subset of the homosexual male population that shares a particular style of life. For example, Marmor et al. recently reported that exposure to amyl nitrite was associated with an increased risk of KS in New York City (7). Exposure to inhalant sexual stimulants, central-nervous-system stimulants, and a variety of other “street” drugs was common among males belonging to the cluster of cases of KS and PCP in Los Angeles and Orange counties.”[6]

According to Scientific American by the summer of 1982 452 cases in 23 states had been reported to the CDC. After a while people who were vulnerable to the disease were part of the   4-H club. This stood for the group considered to be most at risk to be infected: Homosexuals, heroin addicts, hemophiliacs, and Haitians.

By September of that year the CDC officially termed the new disease as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and that December a 20 month old baby, who had received multiple blood transfusions, had died of the new disease.  Further compounding the situation the first cases of mother to child transmission of the disease were also being reported.

On January 4, 1983 the CDC held a meeting in which it was recommended that homosexual men be banned from donating blood.[7]  In 1983 the FDA followed the lead of the CDC and permanently deferred homosexual men from donating blood.[8]

What Exactly Does The FDA Say About The Ban?

The FDA website states that it permanently defers men who have sex with men, at any time since 1977, from donating because they have a higher risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B, and other diseases that can be transmitted through transfusion.

According to the FDA, using statistics from the American Red Cross, MSM since 1977 are “60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors. Even taking into account that 75% of HIV infected men who have sex with men already know they are HIV positive and would be unlikely to donate blood, the HIV prevalence in potential donors with history of male sex with males is 200 times higher than first time blood donors and 2000 times higher than repeat blood donors.”[9]

MSM donors, as a group, are found to be HIV positive during blood donor testing more frequently than any other group. According to the CDC gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men represent approximately 2% of the US population.

The FDA also states that MSM “also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion. For example, infection with the Hepatitis B virus is about 5-6 times more common and Hepatitis C virus infections are about 2 times more common in men who have sex with other men than in the general population. Additionally, men who have sex with men have an increased incidence and prevalence of Human Herpes Virus-8 (HHV-8). HHV-8 causes a cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma in immunocompromised individuals.”[10]

Facts are facts and they should not be ignored. It is true, according to the CDC, that in 2007 MSM were 44 to 86 times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV as compared with other men and 40 to 77 times as likely as women.[11] It is still a fact that MSM remain the group with the highest risk for contracting HIV/ AIDS. When it comes to the annual transmission rate of HIV MSM were at 56% in 2006 (27,000), 58% in 2007 (32,300), 56% in 2008 (26,900) and 61% (29,300) in 2009.[12]

HIV Infections 2009

*[13]

While this numbers are grim and unsettling new advancements in the cleaning blood and checking for diseases have been established to make sure everyone’s blood is as safe as it can be for the recipients.

Another issue which concerns the FDA is the “window period”. The “window period” refers to the amount of time that a person’s tested blood could yield a false negative. The FDA’s website states that its policy regarding MSM and the permanent deferral is important because it “reduces the likelihood that a person would unknowingly donate blood during the “window period” of infection. This is important because the rate of new infections in MSM is higher than in the general population and current blood donors.”[14]

Further on in this policy proposal it will show that improvements , as it deals with the amount of time, have be made due to the advancements in technology to greatly reduce the chances of obtaining a false negative for the “window period.”

An argument that the FDA uses to uphold the ban is saying that the policy “is not unique to the United States. Many European countries have recently reexamined both the science and ethics of the lifetime MSM deferral, and have retained it.”[15] While that was true then, as of November 7, 2011 England, Scotland, and Wales have all done away with the permanent ban.[16]

Procedures and Improvements to Protect Donors and Recipients

When someone donates blood their sample is placed in color coded containers based on the day of the week. Afterwards the bags of those blood samples are placed in to a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This process is known as differential centrifugation. The red blood cells, being the heaviest, will sink at the bottom, the white blood cells will move to the middle, and the platelets being the lightest will be on top. Once separated, the bag will be placed in an expresser.  This process separates each of the contents (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) and then they will each be placed in a bag of their own. Afterwards the red blood cells go into a refrigerator, plasma is placed in the freezer, and platelets are kept at room temperature.

A sample of each is then sent to the lab for testing. During the testing they are looking to detect for West Nile Virus, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C, T.Cruzi (Chagas), Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus 1 and 2, and of course HIV 1 and 2. If any of the samples turn up positive for any of these diseases an alarm will sound and then all samples of that donor are destroyed and the donor is then notified of the positive result.[17]

The blood is also tested for cholesterol levels and for type: AB, B, O, A, RH+ or RH-. Platelets have a lifespan of five (5) days, Plasma can last for one (1) year, and blood can last for 42 days if refrigerated properly.

In reference to the “window period” and the concerns that the FDA had about the issue as discussed earlier in this policy it is important to highlight a new advancement in this testing. In 1999 the Red Cross added another technique to its own screening process called nucleic acid testing, which detects the virus’s own genetic material using the same gene-amplifying techniques used to test for paternity. The test reduces the amount of time that a person’s tested blood could yield a false negative from three to six months with antibody screening alone (because it takes time for the body to produce antibodies to the virus) to about 12 days.[18]

According to America’s Blood Banks the risk of getting HIV through a transfusion is 1.5 million. That is much less than the risk of dying from a lightning strike.[19]

Helping Future Recipients by Improving the Shortage of the Blood Supply

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that if the ban were lifted in favor of a 12-month deferral, an additional 219,000 pints of blood would be donated each year. Since one person’s donation can help three people, if you were to multiply 219,000 x 3, those people could potentially help 657,000 other people!

According to Scientific American: “In the United States it has been estimated that a five-year deferral would lead to an increase of 71,400 donors, whereas a one-year deferral would lead to an increase of 139,000 donors.” If you do the math 71,400 x 3 comes to 214,200 and for 139,000 new donors it would come to 417,000!

The World Health Organization estimates that 100 million units (45 million liters) of blood are needed worldwide per year.

The U.S. alone annually uses about 12 million units, and by 2030 it is projected that there will be a shortage of as much as four million units of blood.

Facts on Blood Supply and Needs

According to the American Red Cross[20]:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply.

According to The Mayo Clinic[21]:

  • Only 5 percent of eligible donors across the nation donate blood, but the number of transfusions nationwide increases by 9 percent every year.
  • Each whole blood donation can help as many as three people. One unit is divided into three parts: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
  • On average, a hip replacement typically uses one unit of blood, a cardiac bypass 2 units, a heart transplant 2 units, and a liver transplant 10 units!
  • About 80,000 units of blood products are transfused at Mayo Clinic annually.
  • The need for blood increases during holidays and summer months. People are more apt to be traveling and active during these times and thus are at an increased risk for accidents.
  • Statistics show that 25 percent or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime.
  • The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program has to buy nearly a quarter (25%) of its blood products from the American Red Cross to help meet the needs of our patients and to prevent postponing surgeries.

People Who Are Eligible to Give Blood Will Choose Not To, Adding to the Shortage

According to Mark Wainberg, who helped in the discovery of 3TC, one of the first drugs to control HIV, and an author, wrote of his concern of healthy able donors not donating due to their objection over the current policy.  He says: “”When a discriminatory policy isn’t justified by the science, it leads to controversy. We’ve seen protests and boycotts of blood drives on Canadian campuses, so I think the blood agencies would be better off if they agreed with us. I suspect, honestly, that many of them already do, in private.[22]

According to a Nov. 11, 2008 article by Chris Irvine for “The Telegraph”, a newspaper in the UK, the Student Unions of Newcastle and Sunderland universities banned together to stop The National Blood Service from advertising in their building because they discriminated against gay men.[23]

According to “US News” that same year San Jose State University banned blood drives on their campus because of the FDA’s current policy against gay men. The University President Don W. Kassing said, in an e-mail to staff, students, and alumni that “I recognize the importance of giving blood and we know that universities are a significant source of blood. Our hope is that the FDA will revisit its deferral policy in a timely manner, and we may soon be able to hold blood drives on this campus again.”[24]

The letter, written January 29, 2008, also states that “In an effort to resolve this issue, my staff and I consulted many experts and reviewed background material on the FDA Web site. We learned from the FDA that the deferral dates back to 1983, “when the risk of AIDS from transfusion was first recognized.” We also learned nucleic acid testing has since greatly reduced the risk HIV/AIDS once posed to blood supply safety. “In fact, our current risks are now so low that they cannot be measured directly and, hence, we rely on [mathematical] models,” Jay S. Epstein, M.D., said at a March 2006 FDA Workshop on Behavior-Based Donor Deferrals.”[25]

However, one other important point stated in the letter, and also stressed by Senator John Kerry in a letter written to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which will be discussed later in this policy proposal, is that “AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross — three organizations that stake their reputations on blood supply safety — have reviewed the same data and come out in favor of relaxing the deferral. In a joint statement, they said they “believe that the current lifetime deferral for men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarranted and recommend that deferral criteria be modified and made comparable with criteria for other groups at increased risk for sexual transmission of transfusion-transmitted infections.” The FDA deferral for such groups is 12 months, according to the AABB Full-Length Donor History Questionnaire.”

President Kassing said that the blood centers offered to assist in any further research needed:

“AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross also offered their vast resources — a great many of the nation’s blood collection centers — to assist with any additional research required by the FDA. I am troubled the FDA has not, to our knowledge, made progress with additional research, nor disclosed if and/or when an FDA committee will vote again on the deferral for men who have sex with other men. Meanwhile, the lifetime deferral affecting gay males as a group remains in place when it may be safe and appropriate for these men to be treated individually, as is the case with people of other sexual orientations.”

The FDA never responded.

According to the article blood drives at SJSU bring in about 1,000 pints a year and high school and college campuses account for about 20 percent of all donated blood.

Annual Donation Trends for Brookhaven National Laboratory

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) began in 1947 on Long Island, Upton, New York. It is a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). According to its website it has a staff of approximately 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff and over 4,000 guest researchers annually.

Its role for the DOE is “to produce excellent science and advanced technology with the cooperation, support, and appropriate involvement of our scientific and local communities.”[26]

The work done in the laboratory has earned The Nobel Prize seven (7) times in the fields of Chemistry and Physics; the latest coming in 2009 which was in the field of Chemistry.

Pints Donated

[27]

Here is a graph which shows the annual donations to BNL. There has been a decline of donations over the years. In 1998 there were 766 pints donated; however in 2010 -2011 there were only 306 pints donated.

They have been conducting blood drives for thirty years. They have been partners with Long Island Blood Services (LIBS), a division of New York Blood Center.[28] According to their statistics these hospitals require approximately 800 units [pints] of blood each day to meet routine needs.

According to LIBS they service 50 Long Island hospitals. According to LIBS “[o]ur region suffers from a shortage of local blood donors, and less than ideal donor frequency (those who donate don’t do so often enough). Only 2% of our population donates blood each year, compared to the national average of 5%. Long Island Blood Services is forced to import 25% of our blood products from other blood centers in the United States, because we can’t independently meet the demand.”[29] If they need 800 pints of blood and they import 25% of those pints that is 200 pints.

According to ABC News since 1996 “collecting, testing, transporting and delivering blood [for the Red Cross] has risen 27 percent. In that same time, officials said, prices for their products have risen 9.9 percent.” Now the Red Cross is selling their blood for $130- $150 a pint.[30] Using those figures as an example if the Red Cross was supplying LIBS with the blood they needed the cost would be great. On the low end ($130 x 200 pints) it is $26,000 a day. If we multiply that by 1 year (365 days) it would come out to $9,490,000! If you did it on the high end ($150 x 200 pints) it is $30,000 a day. For 1 year (365 days) it would come out to $10,950,000!

This Excluded Demographic Would Happily Donate to Help Others in Need

Despite the shortage that is evident in the United States, as outlined previously in this policy, healthy blood donors are being turned away with the only reason being that they answered ‘yes’ to the following question on the questionnaire given out to each potential donor: ‘Are you a male who’s had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977?’

Once that person answers ‘yes’ they will be given a slip of paper which informs them that they are ‘being chosen to be deferred.’ What the paper does not specify is that for homosexual males it is a lifetime deferral.

In a report by CNN’s Ben Tinker he details an incident where a perfectly healthy college junior, Dustin Weinstein from Montclair State University, was turned away because of his sexual orientation.[31] Weinstein had never given blood before and was exited at this opportunity. However, it was not until after they had let him know that he would be deferred that he became aware of the more than 20 year old policy of the FDA that barred homosexual men.

Weinstein says that the FDA should look at, and take account of, one’s sexual history and not at their sexual orientation. He says that “[t]he fact that HIV came in as the ‘gay disease, I think that stigma really sticks with people. They figure they can just block it all out that way.”

According to the report heterosexual HIV rates are on the rise, especially among African American women. However, according to the FDA, those groups are not banned for life from donating.

According to current CDC statistics in 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Most (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.[32]

Phil Wilson[33], an AIDS activist who is also quoted in said article calls the policy outdated and that the policy should be loosened. He goes on to say that “[w]e should educate people about their risk, and if you’re engaged in a risky behavior, then we should educate people to refrain from giving blood because they’re engaged in a risky behavior.”

Brad Baso, a 31 year old project manager for a nonprofit organization in St. Paul, who was interviewed by The New York Times, says that he finds it hard when he has to explain to his coworkers why he does not join them when they participate in blood drives held at work. He says “I work in the nonprofit sector, and it’s important for me to give back. But when you can’t participate in a workplace event, it makes you feel bad, I have to go into a teachable moment and explain that my government thinks my blood is tainted.”[34]

Dr. Steven Kleinman, senior medical adviser to the American Association of Blood Banks, an international association that opposes the ban, says that the controversy over homosexual men giving blood is in huge part because being homosexual in today’s society is a socially charged issue. He says “You wonder, if this wasn’t about gay men, would the rules be applied in the same way?”[35]

Other Countries That Are Considering or Have Changed Their Laws Concerning Donations by Homosexual Males

Spain: In the late 1990s Spain moved from excluding homosexual men to excluding people with promiscuous sexual behavior from donating blood. In Catalonia anyone who has had more than one sexual partner in the past six months is excluded.

Italy: The Italian ban on gay blood donation was repealed in January 2001, but “risky behavior” is still taken to include all men who have sex with men and lifelong deferral is applied.

New Zealand: Donations are not accepted from men who have had sex with men within the past 10 years. Last year the service’s advisory committee recommended a deferral period of five years with clear definitions of which sexual activities warrant deferral.

Australia: One year’s deferral for men who have sex with men plus specific questions about sexual history.[36]

United Kingdom: The permanent exclusion of men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood has changed to a 12 month fixed period deferral from the latest relevant sexual contact following an evidence based review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).[37]

Professor Deirdre Kelly from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs said: “The SaBTO review examined the best available scientific evidence for UK blood donor selection in relation to sexual behaviours.  Our recommendation takes account of new data that have become available since the last review in 2006, as well as scientific and technological advances in the testing of blood.”[38]

A Call for Change

In 2010 Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and 40 other members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opposing the ban. In the letter he writes “We join with medical experts at the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, AABB, and the American Medical Association, among others, in calling for a change in policy that better reflects the science of high risk behavior for HIV.  The time has clearly come to review and modify this policy to strengthen the safety of the blood supply and remove any needless discriminatory rules from the process.”[39]

The letter goes on to say that “[i]n the wake of the major blood donor organizations stating that the lifetime ban on MSM blood donors is “medically and scientifically unwarranted, we urge you to utilize the most up to date and comprehensive medical and scientific data regarding high risk behaviors in your considerations.  In order to improve the integrity of the blood supply, we believe it is imperative that all high risk behaviors be appropriately targeted in the screening process and that similar deferral periods are established for similar risks.”

Is There a Double Standard?

It is important to point out that although the ENTIRE purpose of this policy is NOT to overturn the FDA’s standing on MSM donating blood solely because it is unfair and can be argued that it is discrimination based on sexual orientation. Rather this policy goes to try and alleviate some of the shortage and/ or safety of the blood supply. However, I strongly feel that the issue of double standards should be discussed. In Senator Kerry’s letter discussed earlier he points out the apparent double standards saying “As the policy currently stands, a number of potential oversights and medically unjustifiable double standards seem apparent.  For instance, there is no prescribed consideration of safer sex practices, individuals who routinely practice unsafe heterosexual sex face no deferral period at all while monogamous and married homosexual partners who practice safe sex are banned for life.  In fact, a woman who has sexual relations with an HIV positive male is deferred for one year, while a man who has had sexual relations with another man, even a monogamous partner, is deferred for life.   Even individuals who have paid prostitutes for heterosexual sex face a deferral period of one year while gay men face a lifetime ban.  These do not strike us as scientifically sound conclusions.”

Final Thoughts

Earlier in this policy proposal I discussed the question, which if a man were to answer ‘yes’ to would lead to permanent deferral : ‘Are you a male who’s had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977?’ Some or most of the readers of this policy proposal may say to themselves ‘why do we need to look at changing the current policy to a twelve (12) month deferral policy because the men will lie anyway and say that they have not engaged in sexual contact for the twelve month period; men are lying now about not being homosexual just so they can donate blood, so how would it make much difference?’  They may also say ‘a man is not going to stop having sex for 12 months just to donate blood.’

What I say to that is that yes it is highly true that there are people who will not be honest when answering that question and that is not going to change. But if the 12 month deferral were adopted there are men in there that would fit the criteria.

The first group, to put it as delicate as I can, has to do with men who were raped as young boys or teens. Under the current policy they would be permanently banned since rape in it of itself involves sexual contact and in these cases by males. Even though there is not as much research concerning male on male sexual crimes, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) about 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In 2003, 1 in every ten rape victims was male.   Also, according to RAINN 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.[40] How do we know that these sexual assaults occurred at the hands of other men? The truth is, as I stated before, there is not much data because many of these cases are not reported due to the embarrassment felt by the victims having to do with the stigma that that makes the victim a homosexual.

However, according to the Michigan Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence “Contrary to the belief that homosexual men commit male-to-male sexual violence, research shows that men who identify as heterosexual are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of male sexual assault. Statistics show that heterosexual men commit 96-98% of all sexual violence against males and females.”[41]

Although it is not known exactly how many male sexual assaults are committed by a person of the same sex it is safe to say that it is a huge number.

Now because these men had sexual contact, be it unwanted, with another male it would bar them for life from ever donating under the current policy.

However, people may still say “they are going to lie about that experience.” Consider this next group of men that would be permanently deferred: Men who at some time in their lives had sexual contact with another male, at least once, then decided, whatever the reason, that it was not for them.

According to the National Health Statistics Report in their study called “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data From the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth” it is reported that at least six (6) percent of men, 15-44 years old, reported to have had at least one sexual experience with a person in their lifetimes.[42]

Under the current policy those men would be permanently deferred even if they have ceased having sexual relations with other men.

After reading my policy it is my hope that the FDA takes into account all the data provided and reconsiders relaxing their ban on the permanent deferral of homosexual men and their ability to donate blood. As the evidence collected here suggests there has been new technology that makes it as safe as it’s ever been, both for the donor and the recipient, for blood transfusions. A look at this policy also showcases the severe blood shortage in America and how a relaxation or abolishment of the deferral period can have a great impact. To further illustrate the changes and the impact it can have to America’s blood supply there are examples of other countries, such as Australia and Europe, relaxing their positions on permanent deferrals.

With the new technology available and advancements being made every day the blood is as safe as it’s ever been. If the deferral is changed and homosexual men and/ or men who have had a sexual experience with another man at least once in their lives are able to donate, blood centers, such as the LIBS, will be able to save some of the money used to import blood, as mentioned previously, and apply some of those funds toward better technology in the future to ensure that the donation of blood can be safer for everyone. Even though, according to evidence, the blood supply and process of giving blood is as safe as it’s ever been there is always room for any improvements possible.

According to recent statistics, which are contained within these documents, the blood shortage will only get worse. Not only will it get worse, but due to the shortage the price of blood will increase making it more difficult for hospitals to get the blood they desperately need.

Once again once you have carefully read and reviewed my policy it is my hope that the FDA will relax their policy to a 12 month deferral period at the start and ultimately abolish it in the future.

Thank You Very Much,

Gladys Esquijarosa

 

H.R.1983
Life Saving Blood Supply for America Act

Introduced By:

Gladys Esquijarosa

Works Cited

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Moisse, Katie. “Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Outdated?: Scientific American.” Science News, Articles and Information | Scientific American. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sex-rules-blood-donation-precautionary-or-discriminatory&gt;.

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Tinker, Ben. “Despite Shortage, Blood Donors Turned Away – American Morning – CNN.com Blogs.” American Morning – CNN.com Blogs. 14 June 2009. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/14/blood-donation-discrimination/&gt;.

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[1] “Home Page.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/&gt;.

[2] “About the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) – SeriesMMWR – About Us.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/about.html&gt;.

[3] “A Cluster of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis CariniiPneumonia among Homosexual Male Residents OfLos Angeles and Range Counties, California.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 18 June 1982. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001114.htm&gt;.

[4]“A Cluster of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis CariniiPneumonia among Homosexual Male Residents OfLos Angeles and Range Counties, California.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 18 June 1982. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001114.htm&gt;.

[5] “A Cluster of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis CariniiPneumonia among Homosexual Male Residents OfLos Angeles and Range Counties, California.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 18 June 1982. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001114.htm&gt;.

[6] “A Cluster of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis CariniiPneumonia among Homosexual Male Residents OfLos Angeles and Range Counties, California.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 18 June 1982. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001114.htm&gt;.

[7] Francis, M.D., D.Sc., Donald P., Merle A. Sande, M.D., John L. Ziegler, M.D., Ph.D., James Chin, M.D., M.P.H., and Sally Smith Hughes, Ph.D. “The AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response, 1981-1984.” Chap. 64; California Digital Library. University of California, 1997. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt729005cr&gt;.

[8] “Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm&gt;.

[9]“Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm&gt;.

[10] “Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm&gt;.

[11] “HIV among Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)| Topics | CDC HIV/AIDS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm&gt;.

[12] “HIV Incidence | Statistics and Surveillance | Topics | CDC HIV/AIDS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics

[13] “HIV Incidence | Statistics and Surveillance | Topics | CDC HIV/AIDS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics * IDU stands for Injection Drug Users

[14] “Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm&gt;.

[15]  “Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm&gt;.

[16]  “Give Blood – Deferral of Men Who Have Sex with Men from Blood Donation.” Give Blood – Do Something Amazing Give Blood. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.blood.co.uk/can-i-give-blood/exclusion/&gt;.

[17]  Gay, Nancy. “What Happens to My Blood? – YouTube.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Florida’s Blood Centers. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHaOo20tqgk&gt;.

[18] Moisse, Katie. “Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Outdated?: Scientific American.” Science News, Articles and Information | Scientific American. 26 May 2010. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sex-rules-blood-donation-precautionary-or-discriminatory&gt;.

[19] “Knowing Your Options.” Welcome to America’s Blood Centers. It’s About Life. :: America’s Blood Centers. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.americasblood.org/go.cfm?do=Page.View&gt;.

[20] “Blood Facts and Statistics | American Red Cross.” American Red Cross – Give Blood. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics&gt;.

[21] “Did You Know?- Interesting Facts about Blood Donation.” Mayo Clinic. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/donate-blood-rst/know.html&gt;.

[22] Moisse, Katie. “Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Outdated?: Scientific American.” Science News, Articles and Information | Scientific American. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sex-rules-blood-donation-precautionary-or-discriminatory&gt;.

[23]Irvine, Chris. “Student Unions Ban Blood Donation Adverts for Discriminating against Homosexuals – Telegraph.” Telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph – Telegraph. 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/3440111/Student-unions-ban-blood-donation-adverts-for-discriminating-against-homosexuals.html&gt;.

[24] Go, Alison. “San Jose State Bans Blood Drives – The Paper Trail (usnews.com).” US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and More. 4 Feb. 2008. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/paper-trail/2008/02/04/san-jose-state-bans-blood-drives&gt;.

[25] Kassing, Don W. “Office of the President | President’s Message: Campus Blood Drives | San Jose State University.” Powering Silicon Valley | San Jose State University. 29 Jan. 2008. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.sjsu.edu/president/communications/archives/kassing/blooddrives/letter.html&gt;.

[26] “About Brookhaven.” Brookhaven National Laboratory – A Passion for Discovery. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/about_BNL.asp&gt;.

[27] “BNL Blood Drives: Annual Statistics.” Brookhaven National Laboratory – A Passion for Discovery. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bnl.gov/hr/blooddrive/stats/stats.asp&gt;.

[28] “Long Island Blood Services (LIBS) Is a Division of New York Blood Center.” Blood Facts. New York Blood Center. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bnl.gov/hr/blooddrive/pdf/Blood_Fact_Sheet.pdf&gt;.

[29]“Long Island Blood Services (LIBS) Is a Division of New York Blood Center.” Blood Facts. New York Blood Center. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bnl.gov/hr/blooddrive/pdf/Blood_Fact_Sheet.pdf&gt;.

[30] McQueen, Anjetta. “Red Cross to Charge More for Blood – ABC News.” ABCNews.com: Daily News, Breaking News and Video Broadcasts – ABC News. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117431&gt;.

[31] Tinker, Ben. “Despite Shortage, Blood Donors Turned Away – American Morning – CNN.com Blogs.” American Morning – CNN.com Blogs. 14 June 2009. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/14/blood-donation-discrimination/&gt;.

[32] “HIV/AIDS and African Americans | Topics | CDC HIV/AIDS.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/index.htm&gt;.

[33] Tinker, Ben. “Despite Shortage, Blood Donors Turned Away – American Morning – CNN.com Blogs.” American Morning – CNN.com Blogs. 14 June 2009. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/14/blood-donation-discrimination/&gt;.

[34] Mroz, Jacqueline. “Rethinking Whether Gay Men May Donate Blood – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 02 Aug. 2010. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/health/03blood.html&gt;.

[35] Mroz, Jacqueline. “Rethinking Whether Gay Men May Donate Blood – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 02 Aug. 2010. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/health/03blood.html&gt;.

[36] Hurley, Richard. “Student BMJ: Bad Blood: Gay Men and Blood Donation.” Student BMJ: The International Medical Journal for Students. 1 Apr. 2009. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://student.bmj.com/student/view-article.html?id=sbmj.b1054&gt;.

[37] “Give Blood – Deferral of Men Who Have Sex with Men from Blood Donation.” Give Blood – Do Something Amazing Give Blood- England and North Wales. Nov. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.blood.co.uk/can-i-give-blood/exclusion/&gt;.

[38] “Lifetime Blood Donation Ban Lifted for Men Who Have Had Sex with Men | Media Centre.” Media Centre | Press Releases, Statements and Speeches. 8 Sept. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://mediacentre.dh.gov.uk/2011/09/08/lifetime-blood-donation-ban-lifted-for-men-who-have-had-sex-with-men/&gt;.

[39] “Kerry Urges HHS to End Blood Ban – Current Policy Bars Gay Men from Donating Blood.” John Kerry – United States Senator for Massachusetts: Home. 9 June 2010. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://kerry.senate.gov/press/release/?id=4e51ccb4-b8bf-48a8-81f2-5ac908149785&gt;.

[40] “Who Are the Victims?- Breakdown by Gender and Age | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.” RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The Nation’s Largest Anti-sexual Assault Organization.One of “America’s 100 Best Charities” —Worth Magazine. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims&gt;.

[41] “Male Survivors of Sexual Violence.” Michigan Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Web. <http://www.michigan.gov/documents/datingviolence/DHS-DatingViolence-MaleSurvivors_198439_7.pdf&gt;.

[42] Chandra, Ph.D., Anjani, William D. Mosher, Ph.D.,, Casey Copen, Ph.D., and Catlainn Sionean, Ph.D. “National Health Statistics Report in Their Study Called “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data From the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth”.” National Health Statistics Report. 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf&gt;.