Friday, January 11, 2008

First Our Blood and Now Our Organs..What's Next? Part 2

Yesterday in the Globe and Mail this article was publish addressing the issues of the organ donation controversy for sexually active gay men. Read the full article below. I still believe that it pure discrimination. Why not have the same risk factor for all sexually men regardless of sexuality. HIV is also become a big issue in the hetrosexual community! Health Canada still needs more pressure to ensure equality is implemented in their risk assessment.

From Globe and Mail- Carl Weeks

New Health Canada regulations won't prohibit sexually active gay men from donating their organs, but will merely formalize standard industry practice to prevent transmission of disease, according to several Canadian transplant associations.
"We will still consider all organs and all donors," said Mark Meloche, head of the surgery section at the British Columbia Transplant Society. "We still consider the use of them, depending on the circumstances. It's all part of a risk assessment."
The federal government has come under fire this week over the rules, which came into effect last month and are designed to protect recipients from contracting HIV, hepatitis B or C and other serious diseases.
Under the regulations, men who have had sex with another man even once in the past five years, in addition to intravenous drug users, people recently in jail and others, are considered unsuitable to donate their organs.
But the rules don't actually ban donations by sexually active gay men or other groups deemed to be in "high risk" categories.
In fact, there are exemptions that allow doctors to conduct transplants even if the donor is in a risk category. In those instances, health officials work to gather information about a person's behaviour and potential risk factors in order to determine whether to proceed.
It's part of a rigorous screening policy designed to minimize disease transmission that has been industry practice for several years, according to Health Canada.
There have been documented cases - including four in Chicago last year - in which recipients have contracted HIV from a donated organ.
Even so, one transplant group is accusing Health Canada of unnecessarily singling out the gay community in the regulations. Gary Levy, director of the transplant program at the University Health Network, said sexual orientation has always been a factor in screening donors, but that being gay doesn't exclude individuals from donating.
Any organs that are considered for donation in Canada are subject to tests and screening to determine if they contain disease, say experts involved in transplantation.
But some groups are at a higher risk for HIV or hepatitis, so extra measures are put in place to assess their risk factors. In order to determine the level of risk and whether to proceed, health officials will test organs, speak with the donor's family or friends to get information about their behaviour, as well as explain the situation and potential consequences to the recipient.


T said...

It is shocking, isn't it? And it really bugs me as a gay man when I tell people that I cannot donate blood. I find myself having to tell people about this all the time -- to their shock. And every time I tell people this, I feel like I'm lying to them because it just seems so outrageous when it comes out of my mouth... yet it's true. It literally makes... my blood boil!

But the organs... that's a new thing. Ridiculous.
Guess I better change that thing on my licence about donating my eyes...

Avenue Road said...

Completely agree with you. So what's next for the government to do to us.