Monday, March 10, 2008

Stupid policies

I am a gay man. I have been shouting about that for so long on this blog that you will forgive me if I stress it again.

But I have been going through the world press and I am amused by something that seems to be ok for a Gay Ugandan. Apparently, there has been a big deal to say about donation of blood and organs in Canada , Britain , and the US.

You see, gay men are taken to be a problematic group. We apparently have so much HIV (!) that it is feared that if we donate blood, and our body organs, then we can spread it around. So, guys in the western countries have been making a lot of noise about their right to donate, blood and organs, 2.

On the other hand are the authorities. They say they are justified, because gay men have a higher rate of HIV than most other groups. So, to protect the rest of the public, they should not donate. But there are other issues to consider. Some of the bans are outright discriminatory. Like where one is never supposed to give blood if you ever had sex with another man (Britain and Canada). Others (Australia) give the last act of sex a year. (But hell, who goes to donate and starts saying when he last had sex with a man? Stupid law, in my opinion!)

In Uganda, the situation is different. Not many people donate blood. Sure, I do know, because it rarely comes on my horizon. And when you go to hospital, you may be informed, asked to bring 'donors' to replace the blood that you or your relative is given.

Fact is, I did donate blood once, sometime ago. I was amused when the counselor asked about my girlfriends, and assumed that I had a number. Actually, I just thought of the guy that I had slept with the previous night.

I was not asked about him. I did not know that I was putting whoever gets my blood at risk. I did not know, and did not assume that I would be at risk of HIV. Simple ignorance.

And you know what, the reason I went to donate the blood was I knew that it would be tested for HIV and I would get the results. Without coughing up any money, paying for the test. A painless way, (err, to the pocket. The pin prick was ‘negligible’. I didn’t jump or cry etc).

But, think of it this way.

In Uganda, the homophobia, official and unofficial, makes sure that I am invisible to the medical community. So, I do not know about the health concerns, including my risk. And of course, I cannot protect anyone with ‘my safe behavior’. Because I do not know what is safe.

And, the blood transfusion people will not dare ask about my boyfriends. They will ask about my girls, who number zero, so they will consider me safe, even if I tell them that fact.

The blindness of ignorance and prejudice.

I must say I am not very conversant with the problem of blood donations and infections as would result from gay men. I mean, I am not sure that I should be ruled out because I am gay. Maybe the fact is that some ‘phobes’ just fear having a part of me within them! Imagine, my blood going to Nsaba Buturo or Ssempa. They may reject it because it is from a gay man!

I will be very responsible.

I will not donate, until I am forced to. And of course if it is in Uganda, despite all the shouting that I have done on this blog, I am not gay because gay Ugandans don’t exist.

Stupid, yes, prejudiced, yes, but that is political correctness!



Iwaya said...

I guess I just want you to know am still reading.

gayuganda said...


thanks and very much appreciated.

Just hoping that you will be back for good soon!


Cheri said...

I failed to get that point of Gay men having *most* HIV.

Can someone please elaborate.

gayuganda said...

Hi Cheri,


About the HIV thing, it is like saying that 'blacks have the most sickle cell disease'. It means that black people, as compared to most other races, have a higher risk of sickle cell disease.

Same to HIV, except that gay men have a higher risk than most other groups.
That fact has been used to 'gay bash'. And of course it is the reason why there are restrictions to the giving of blood and organs.

In Uganda, gay men do not exist, so we do not suffer from the prejudice of being labeled the ones with HIV. Sad fact.

It also means that many gay men do not know that they are at risk, and of course do not know how to protect one another. And the medics cannot tell us that there may be a problem with the blood. We do not exist, so who will they tell....

I was just trying to highlight the fact because we deny that gay ugandans exist, we are blind to some of the health issues. Ostritch with the head buried in sand, we are blind and deaf to reality.

And if you use that to bash me because I am gay, I will get a huge hoe and hit it on your head. Just use the example of Sickle Cell Disease that I outlined above.

How do I know all this? Once upon a time I did not. But I am gay, and, I am curious, and this stuff is scattered all over the internet.


Anonymous said...

That thing about gay men being the highest HIV+ group simply isn't true. It's simply a leftover story from the early Eighties, when AIDS first hit gay men in the USA and then elsewhere.

Globally, heterosexuals (most of them in Southern Africa, and the Third World) WAY outnumber gay HIV+ (male and female together). And you would expect that, given the roughly 1:7 proportions of gay to straight throughout the world.

In the UK, HIV+ hetties have outnumbered HIV+ homos for over 10 years now.

But it may be true that reckless male behaviour (with other gay men, or female prostitutes, for example) is creating a new wave of problems, with a sharp rise in the number of new gay HIV cases being diagnosed in certain countries like the UK. (Similar statistics simply aren't available from many countries, mainly because of the stigma, or sheer govt. incompetence & reluctance).

gayuganda said...

Thanks anon.

Guess it should be that we should all be asked when we have ever had sex.

So, they should ask, if you have had sex in the last 6 months, you should not donate blood!
Problem is, the blood banks may run empty.


blackstone said...

Problem is, the blood banks may run empty.

!funny, but i get the point.

Even though Uganda does not provide you information, have you found good enough information about HIV and other health issues on the internet?

gayuganda said...

Hi Blackstone,


Yeah, guess I am too curious a person to leave such a question unanswered. So, I did get my answers. And I was not amused.


Anonymous said...

Well, they're desperate at times in the UK. But - because of their 'gay apartheid' - I do not give any more! And I am O positive, a "universal donor".

DeTamble said...

protection. they're call condoms. not just for the straights. for everyone. even for blowjobs. that's why there are flavoured ones.

Australia has that rule? Still!? Even though they check the blood for all diseases. Fucking hell. I'm writing to GetUp. Stupid rule. Stupid fucking Howard.

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