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Public health trumps political correctness

By Scott Tibbs, February 14, 2008

The Indiana Daily Student editorial board's complaining about the federal government's policy forbidding homosexual men from giving blood should be addressed.

I was pleased to see the IDS argue that San Jose State University's prohibition of on-campus blood drives was too extreme. That kind of policy is counterproductive, arrogant, cruel, hateful and self-centered. Unfortunately, these extremist views do exist at IU, as we saw two years ago when two letters to the editor in the IDS advocated banning the Red Cross from campus because of the government's policy.

Who suffers most from SJSU's ridiculous and over-the-top prohibition of on-campus blood drives? Those who need blood the most. SJSU put political correctness ahead of the needs of sick and injured people, the people who need society's help the most. Whatever you may think of the federal government's policy, you need to remember: it is not about you! There is no "right" to donate blood. Donating blood is a sacrifice one makes for the good of someone else. The people receiving the donated blood are the ones who we should be concerned about.

The problem with comparing refusing blood from men who have had sex with men (MSM) and black people is that skin pigmentation is not the same as behavior. Like it or not, same-sex intimacy increases the risk one has of contracting STD's such as AIDS. Simply having more melanin in one's skin does not in and of itself increase the likelihood of contracting an STD. After all, there is a reason that AIDS is referred to as a sexually transmitted disease.

The issue is not, nor should it be, about whether a certain policy helps promote "harmful stereotypes. The issue is public health and ensuring that the blood supply is as safe as possible for those who need it. If you feel that the blood supply if unnecessarily low because homosexual men are excluded from giving blood, then do something about it by donating some of your own. Do not demand that political considerations be placed above science, and do not place "tolerance" above legitimate analysis of health statistics.