I am a trained nurse. For six years I have worked in a hospital, three of them in intensive care. I came constantly with blood, excrement, diseases in and have felt in no other profession is so sure.
On the one hand, because to me, all safety precautions have been taught, but on the other hand, because no one was interested in my sexual activities – neither my boss nor my colleagues. I was not the Other. Until the calls came in to donate blood. Since it was me again aware that I was able to exercise my profession and wanted him to be able to self-exercise with a HIV-infection; what I was not allowed to, however, was to donate blood.
I have often asked myself whether I should not go for blood donation. My blood group is 0, I will not be treated as a Universal blood donor, is actually a blessing for all. But it is forbidden me because I have Sex with men. I would have to lie to do it. What would have happened if I would have done it? I don’t know, and even if I did, I would not reveal it in this Text because it is irrelevant: For the society my blood is poison.
Now the FDP wants to pick up the change and the waiting time for men and Trans*people, because it “is an untenable discrimination in the absence of medical necessity” – an application will be filed next week in the Bundestag.
Almost on an equal footing
Background: in 2017, had changed the guidelines for the donation of blood. Men who have with men sexual intercourse, were since of this innovation for the first time to donate blood – but only if you had a year of no Sex; this was also the case for Trans*people, sex workers, and sex workers. The good news is that We have not excluded permanently, the bad: we Should want to help people, we had to live a year of abstinence. We were on an equal footing – almost.
Almost a fatal word in this context. Again and again this is a modal adverb appears, it is a narrative approach, one that is always on the verge of have the feeling that something is not running properly, it ends then, but completely full.
It would have been possible, even then the Directive with a shrug of the shoulders, to accept, to simply give a year-on-body contact, to be able to finally donate blood, assuming that it would be the persons ever so important. A different strategy could have read: you don’t want our blood? Then die, stop!
But What was between the lines of this provision to read, was a message, which has accompanied us since time immemorial: Our life does not belong to himself, it carries with it a risk of death always lurks, because we are somehow wrong. Since the eighties, we were busy all the time anyway with the Paranoia of a HIV-infection, we had fear, because we lived potentially in danger, every sexual act is always a risk, we constantly had after the orgasm, the thought of death would come looking for us sooner or later. We still have anxiety!
Brief aside: When I write in this Text, “We”, I include also the people who have been excluded for decades: people who were not allowed to donate blood. People were slaughtered by the company, which will always be ostracized as outsiders, as not normal, as if normality is a valid category.
2400 new infections in Germany
I know the Numbers of new HIV infections in Germany, they are known to me, since I was a teenager, and I study them every year. For the year 2018, the Robert Koch Institute estimates that 2400 new infections in Germany, of which 1600 in the category of Sex between men (in 2013, there were 2200 men).
When donating blood, the following questions need to be answered in an arc:
Belong or they belonged to one of the following groups of people?
- Heterosexual persons with multiple partners?
- Men who have sex with men or had?
- People who have sex to offer transport in exchange for money or other services (e.g., drugs) or offered (“male and female sex workers”)?
- Transsexuals are people with sexual risk behavior?
There is a consultation in which the doctor these questions let you can make, whether you do it is up to you follows. In Germany, it is explicitly distinguished in the questionnaire between heterosexual people and men who have Sex with men.
In some European countries, the situation is different: In Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Spain, there is no difference in the questionnaire; in several EU States, including Austria, men who had Sex with men are excluded completely. Also, the “waiting period” varies, in Germany it is a year in Canada, there are three months, in France it will be from 2020 four.
Today, a HIV-infection can be ruled out for six weeks after the last risk. The definition of a year in Germany seems to be somewhat arbitrary – at the same time it remains a matter of trust, because no one can control whether we say the questionnaire at all the truth.
No one hundred percent security
It goes alone to the safety of the recipient of the blood donation, so the Argument of Paul is-Ehrlich-Institut, in cooperation with the Federal chamber of physicians for the blood donation requirements responsible: “If a homosexual partnership, someone’s cheating, then just within this relatively small population group with an increased risk of HIV. Then the probability of Contracting the disease is higher.” Statistically it may be a valid Argument, but it is according to the estimates by the Robert Koch-Institute, 620 new infections in the year 2017, “heterosexual contacts” was also added. The seem to be taken implicitly into account.
No one can guarantee a hundred percent security when donating blood, this is the truth, as painful as it will be for some. The sooner we all accept this, the more the company may cease to occupy some of the people with shame and others are not. The shame accompanied us our whole life, it costs a lot of effort, this is not slap on a prophylactic, to not let them in our body penetration. Some manage to rid themselves of the shame, others carry life long scars (visible and invisible) with.
Why do I mention all of this? Because it can’t do that without the Numbers, without the fear. And because I don’t think of history in a continuity, according to the Motto: in the past, everything was bad, now everything is better. We might want to believe have done, for example, with the “marriage for all” all the problems (I don’t) do it, but even if we should believe it, brings us back to the prohibition of blood donation just immediately in the reality. And our whole society is based on an ancient, traditional model of the family: heterosexual, married, with two children, monogamous, permanent contract. This should be the Norm. The standard exists, she lives, she stays healthy.