Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Blood and Organ Donation Within the LGBTQI+ Community

According to the Centre for American progress, every day in the United States 43, 200 people- one every two seconds need lifesaving-blood transfusion (Cray, 2012). Similarly, 18 people will succumb to illness while waiting for a donor organ (Cray, 2012). The above statistics show how crucial organ and blood donation is in the country and the world. It can save a life and prevent more body damage due to using defective body organs or lack of sufficient or the right blood type in the body. Before organ transplant and blood transfusion, various procedures are involved to ensure compatibility and prevent the spread of diseases such as AIDS through transfusion of unscreened blood from infected to an uninfected person. Some factors are considered before carrying out the process of body organs transplant and blood transfusion. The measure ensures the safety of the donors to prevent situations where the recipient’s problem is solved, but the donor is left suffering. Thus, it is essential to investigate the factors considered while donating blood/organs to avoid such occurrences.

Moreover, blood cannot be transfused to another person or organ transplanted without diagnostic measures to prevent the spread of infections such as sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, for compatibility, there is the analysis of donated blood before transfusion to the patients and organ before transplant. Due to some challenges experienced before as a result of blood and organs transplant, policies have been implemented on the eligibility of a blood or organ donor. The policies and development have made the LGTBQ community eligible to donate organs but not blood.

Restrictions from donating blood among the LGTBQ community were enacted in 1984. The changes made it mandatory for gays to abstain from sexual interactions for three months before donating blood (Belavusau & Uladzislau, 2016). Through this regulation, even monogamous male partnerships are prevented from donating blood. However, the members of this community are allowed to donate their body organs after death since organ donation does not restrict such based on sexual orientation or diseases. According to Belavusau & Uladzislau (2016), TN Donor services will match the organs of HIV-positive people with HIV/positive recipients in need of their organs. The restrictions on blood donation among the LGTBQ community were attributed to the diagnosis of the new virus ‘HIV’ among the Gays in the 1980s. During the period, several cases of blood transfusion recipients were diagnosed with the virus, promoting the research to understand more about the role of blood transfusion other transfers of human tissues in the spread of the disease.

Although such restrictions are termed discriminatory due to the target of one group, it is worth it (Lake, 2010). Blood transfusion is one method attributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS if the blood is not properly screened for the virus. Transferring blood from one infected to an infected person is a health risk as it will solve their problem of low blood in the body but cause them more health problems of living with the virus for the rest of their lives. The blood of the gays was termed as “bad blood” due to the previous cases of HIV and spread after transfusion (Hurley, 2009). The HIV stays in the body for at least three months before it can be diagnosed using various AIDS testing methods in existence. Thus, it was made mandatory for gays to abstain from sexual interactions for three months before donating blood to ensure accurate results after the blood screening.

Abstaining from sexual interactions for three months prevents situations where the members could contract the virus within the three months and donate the blood. After the screening, will test negative for the virus despite being positive, leading to inaccurate results. This would increase the spread of the virus in the country unknowingly, thus, the restriction (Cohen, Glenn, Feigenbaum & Adashi, 2014). However, anyone can contract and carry the virus regardless of sexual orientation or other diversities; thus, the policies should not have targeted the LGTBQ members only, but they could have been universal to apply to all people in the country if the health department is serious about fighting the spread of the virus through blood transfusion. Although the policies were made due to the increased risks of contracting the virus among gays, people from other sexual orientations can still contract the virus. With the reluctant policies on their likelihood of contracting the virus, the screening process may lead to an inaccurate result which is risky to the blood transfusion recipient.

Despite the advanced technologies and blood screening techniques, the restrictions regulating blood transfusion remain unchanged in countries like the United States of America. The country’s reluctance to modify these policies can be dated to the 1980s when many people living with hemophilia contracted HIV/AIDS and died due to blood transfusion from donors affected by the virus (Ryan, 2014). The blame fell on the members of the LGTBQ community who were diagnosed with the virus during the time. In its reaction to the issue, the polices banned them from donating the blood without abstaining from sexual activities hence the country’s reluctance to change for that long time. According to Caplan (2010), many people argue that testing is not sufficient to protect the safety of the blood supply against the risks of the virus.

Sexual activities among the gay community increase the risk of contracting the virus. This is a good justification of the policies as increased risks of getting the virus can result in inaccurate information about their status if they contract the virus within the three-month window when it is difficult to know a newly infected person. Thus, it cannot be termed as discrimination since it is based on their behaviors that are likely to endanger the health of blood transfusion donors. Inaccurate results due to lack of detecting virus contacted within the months’ window pose a great risk to the blood transfusion recipients or people using products created from the blood since the blood of all donors is pooled with other units. This will create a situation where a large amount of blood gets contaminated from a single donation from an infected donor, endangering people’s health.

The existence of blood transfusion policies against LGTBQ communities has contributed to the shortage of blood. In the USA, blood shortage could lead to postponement of elective surgery in hospitals, causing suffering for the patients requiring the surgeries. Also, there are shortages in the supply of products used to treat genetic disorders and other diseases as they are extracted from donated blood (Caplan, 2010). People with hemophilia have been living hard lives due to the shortage of blood supply despite their regular need for blood transfusion as their blood does not clot as required. Such predicament has put their lives at risk if they need the blood emergently and fail to get the required blood group. Some studies on these existing policies argue that the existing policy is not consistent with the current technologies, which can detect screen the virus well before its transfusion to the recipients.

To curb the blood supply shortages, some countries such as Switzerland, Spain, and Australia have modified their policies to permit gay men to donate blood. Their move has been possible due to Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) in screening against HIV-1 (Caplan, 2010). The method amplifies the viral nucleic acid while testing blood, reducing the period for detecting the virus from three months to less than two weeks. With this improved efficiency, the countries have managed to reduce the risks involved by accepting gays to donate blood without abstaining from sexual activities for a certain period. The new testing methods have enhanced blood supply safety and increased the amount of blood donated since no group is restricted.

Blood transfusion is riskier than organ donation due to the reaction of various blood components from the donor and recipient. For example, an organ from a donor with HIV can be matched with a recipient who is also positive with the virus after screening. However, blood transfusion from an HIV-positive donor to HIV positive recipient is a risk due to the difference in the viral load and different nature of the virus, which can react causing, more health problems. Thus, having these blood donation restrictions among the LGTBQ community is justified to help reduce the risks of spreading the virus. Even though the technologies and techniques of blood screening have evolved, prevention is better as they may not detect HIV if the donor had contracted within three months.

Comparing the blood and organ donation processes, donating blood is a quick and painless operation that may be completed in about an hour. The exercise leaves a small scar on the donor’s hand, which heals within a short time. The donor’s health is not affected as they are left with sufficient blood in their body for normal functioning. However, donating organs and tissues is a medical procedure that saves and transforms lives. Organs are extracted from donors and put into those on a transplant waiting list who are terminally ill. On the other hand, tissue donors help save lives by donating their eyes and tissues (Belavusau & Uladzislau, 2016). The Human Tissue Act of 1983 protects the confidentiality of both the donor and the recipient. Unlike Americans, Australians favor organ and tissue donation, according to a study. Australia has one of the highest transplant success rates in the world.

Contrary to blood donation, organ donation leaves the donor with some permanent scars in their body as they are forced to live without the organ they have donated, which is sometimes riskier. For example, individuals who donate one of their kidneys are forced to live with one for the rest of their lives. In case the remaining kidney fails, their health is put at risk. Another difference is that anyone can donate anytime for organ donation, unlike blood donation, where some policies have been put to regulate eligibility based on sexual orientation. However, in both, the donation is meant to save life hence their importance.

Although the policies on blood and organ donation were implemented to better the healthcare system, which was impacted by the blood transfusion, not everyone welcomed them. The policies were implemented to restrict blood and organ donations among the members of the LGTBQ community hence their resistance to the policies. The policies were termed as discriminative against certain members of the community, resulting in unfair targeting. The decision to implement the policies was based on the studies conducted to establish the relationship between blood transfusion and the spread of HIV (Rachael, 2010). The members of the LGTBQ community were blamed for the transfer of the virus since they were the first group to be diagnosed with the virus. The community members were closely involved in the spread of the virus; the implementation of these policies did not consider their rights and liberties. Many argued that blood is theirs and should not be limited from donating to anyone they wish. Also, the restrictions deny community members the right to get blood donations from their fellow members since they must abstain from sexual interaction before donating. Thus, in case of emergency, they are ineligible to donate blood due to time factors due to the restriction policies.

In reaction to these policies, there have been long-standing campaigns across various platforms like social media, among the activists and plight from researchers to modify the guidelines. The researchers have been using extensive studies and evidence showing how technologies have advanced, resulting in new techniques for screening the blood against the virus. The researchers use this evidence to prove how the policies restricting gays from donating blood are outdated and inconsistent with the technologies and other developments. On the other hand, the activists have been raising complaints about denying gays their right to donate blood and organs as they wish without following these outdated policies. Besides, the activists have been accusing the health department of causing a shortage in blood supply by failing to change these restrictions policies. The call to reform these policies as advocated for by these groups is meant to remove the existing stereotypes against the LGTBQ who are ready and willing to donate blood and cannot due to these restrictions.

According to Daniel et al. (2019), some members of the LGTBQ community refuted the grounds that led to the implementation of the policies where gay sexual intercourse makes gays a high-risk group. The activist disagreed with these grounds terming them as stereotypes against the gays, denying them the right to donate blood. Similar views were echoed by some men who have experienced sexual encounters with other me. According to Grenfell et al. (2011), most of the study participants involving gay men termed the policies as discriminatory. They reinforce the existing stereotypes in society about the LGTBQ community. According to Bennett (2015), the policies prevent people from exercising their citizenship rights of donating blood at their wish. The activists have been using these deprived citizens’ rights to fight and advocate for the change of the policies to eliminate negative stereotypes against gays. The same sentiments have been echoed by Belavusau (2016), who claims that restricting blood donations is an infringement of active citizenship. As such, the policies prevent the members from participating actively in helping the needy members of the society, such as those in need of blood or other body organs. Due to the ban from the implemented policies, men in most western countries have been labeled “bad blood” as people believe they engage in unsafe sexual activities (Hurley 2009). This has contributed to the discrimination of the LGTBQ community members due to their sexual orientation. Such branding has sparked increased campaigns to change the policies as people have started shifting away from the leading cause of their implementation. Having to abstain from sexual activities among gays does not imply their blood is infected. Instead, it is a precaution to prevent blood transfusion from the new members of the gays who contract the virus within three months to the blood recipients.

For a better understanding of the issue of blood and organization, many parties should be involved. Such parties include media, health, and the government. Although the policies banning LGTBQ members from donating blood without abstaining from sexual activities have been implemented, these parties should play significant roles in making people understand them. Communication will help prevent the stereotypes associated with policies, making these members feel discriminated against (Susan (2009). According to Susan (2009), it is essential to share information and educate people about certain things in society. For example, LGTBQ is a sensitive issue in the community where people have different opinions about the members with the most misleading information. If the media or other organizations help address these opinions and misleading information, people will avoid stereotyping them and discriminating against their blood and organs due to their sexual orientation. Apart from the policies banning blood donations, media and health organizations can enlighten people on organ and blood donations (Susan, 2009). The understanding will help people appreciate the need to donate blood and organs to save other lives. Also, some people resist donating blood or organization due to the misinformation that exists about the process.


Blood and organ donation are critical topics to explore due to the great roles blood and organ donation play in society. It makes it possible to understand the process of blood and organ donations among the people and how they screened for compatibility. Screening prevents the spread of diseases such as AIDS through transfusion of unscreened blood from infected to an uninfected person. Hence to avoid these issues, various factors are considered before carrying out the process of body organs transplant and blood transfusion. The measure ensures the safety of the donors to prevent situations where the recipient’s problem is solved, but the donor is left suffering. Thus, it is essential to investigate the factors considered while donating blood/organs to avoid such occurrences. Understanding blood and organization within the LGTBQ community help understand the existing policies that permit the community members to donate organs but restrict them from donating blood.

The restrictions from donating blood among the LGTBQ community were enacted in 1984, which have made the community members undergo mandatory abstinence from sexual activities for three months before donating blood. The policies have resulted in discrimination and stereotyping of gay men with their blood, termed “bad.” In reaction to these issues, various parties have joined hands to fight them, advocating modifying these policies. Furthermore, clear communication and sharing the correct information play essential roles in understanding blood and organ donation. It will help people understand the importance of blood and organ donation. Besides, it will enlighten people about the LGBTQ community and some misinformation that causes the existing stereotypes.


Belavusau, Uladzislau. “Towards EU Sexual Risk Regulation: Restrictions on Blood Donation as Infringement of Active Citizenship.” European Journal of Risk Regulation 7.4 (2016): 801- 809.

Bennett, Jeffrey A. Banning Queer Blood: Rhetoric of Citizenship, Contagion, and Resistance. University of Alabama Press, 2015.

Caplan, Arthur. “Blood Stains—Why an Absurd Policy Banning Gay Men as Blood Donors has not been Changed.” American Journal of Bioethics. (2010): 1-2.

Cohen, I. Glenn, Jeremy Feigenbaum, and Eli Y. Adashi. “Reconsideration of the Lifetime Ban on Blood Donation by Men Who Have Sex with Men.” Jama 312.4 (2014): 337-338.

Cray, A. (2012, September 11). Discriminatory Donor Policies Substitute Stereotypes for Science. Centre for American Progress. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from

Grace, Daniel, et al. “Gay and Bisexual Men’s Views on Reforming Blood Donation Policy in Canada: a qualitative study.” BMC Public Health 19.1 (2019): 1-14.

Grenfell, P., et al. “Views and Experiences of Men Who Have Sex with Men on the Ban on Blood Donation: A Cross Sectional Survey with Qualitative Interviews.” Bmj 343 (2011).

Hurley, Richard. “Bad Blood: Gay Men and Blood Donation.” Bmj 338 (2009).

Lake, Rachael. “MSM Blood Donation Ban:(In) equality, Gay Rights and Discrimination under the Charter.” Appeal: Rev. Current L. & L. Reform 15 (2010): 136.

Morgan, Susan E. “The Intersection of Conversation, Cognitions, and Campaigns: The Social Representation of Organ Donation.” Communication Theory 19.1 (2009): 29-48.

Nelson, Ryan H. “An Indirect Challenge to the FDA’s Gay Blood Ban.” Tul. JL & Sexuality 23 (2014): 1.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics