The right to give blood by ProQuest

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									     CMAJ                                                                                                                 Letters
Harassment from misguided                                HIV, and over 40 times more likely                         since the previous donation. Therefore,
                                                         than women to contract HIV. Further,                       repeat donors typically have rates of
mayoral candidate
                                                         MSM are over 46 times more likely to                       infection half those of first-time
                                                         contract syphilis than other men, and                      donors.4
I was astounded to read that Toronto                     over 71 times more likely than women                          As testing has improved dramati-
City Councillor Robert Ford went on                      to contract syphilis. According to the                     cally and the epidemic has shifted,
record as saying that doctors should not                 CDC, MSM comprised 57% of people                           other countries have shortened their
be advocating for the poor.1 Ford went                   newly infected with HIV in the US in                       deferral periods for blood donation.
so far as to file a complaint with the                   2006, even though MSM are only 2%                          Indeed, the reports of international
College of Physicians and Surgeons of                    of the adult population.”                                  blood donation policies in Wainberg
Ontario against Dr. Roland Wong, a                       Are the lessons from Krever now on                         and colleagues’ article are already out-
family physician who had found a                         the back burner?                                           dated. Last year, New Zealand short-
novel way to allow welfare recipients                                                                               ened its MSM deferral period from 10
to obtain financial assistance for food                  James E. Parker                                            years to 5 years, and South Africa from
                                                         Retired pediatrician, Abbotsford, BC
to avoid diet-related problems. Ford                                                                                5 years to 6 months.
considers this going well beyond the
                                                         REFERENCES                                                 Greta R. Bauer
duties and responsibilities of doctors.                  1.   Gay men still more likely to contract HIV. BCMJ       Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Schulick
   The poor have greatly increased                            2010;52:223
                                                         2.   Wainberg MA, Shuldiner T, Dahl K, et al. Recon-       School of Medicine & Dentistry,
risks of cardiac disease and diabetes,                        sidering the lifetime deferral of blood donation by   University of Western Ontario, London,
among other problems. I find it extraor-                      men who have sex with men. CMAJ 2010; May 25          Ont.
dinary that a city councillor would                           [Epub ahead of print].
think that a doctor advocating for his                   For the full letter, go to: www.cmaj.ca/cgi/eletters       REFERENCES
poverty-stricken patients is doing                       /cmaj.091476v1#474640                                      1.   Wainberg MA, Shuldiner T, Dahl K, et al. Recon-
                                                                                                                         sidering the lifetime deferral of blood donation by
something out of line.                                   DOI 10.1503/cmaj.110-2088                                       men who have sex with men. CMAJ 2010; May 25
   I am also concerned that the com-                                                                                     [Epub ahead of print].
                                                                                                                    2.   Germain M, Remis RS, Delage G. The risks and
plaints process is being used inappropri-                                                                                benefits of accepting men who have had sex with
ately in this instance. If one can put pen               Wainberg and colleagues argue for a  1
                                                                                                                         men as blood donors. Transfusion 2003;43:25-33.
to paper, one can put the college’s com-                 change in blood donation policy that                       3.   Vamvakas EC. Scientific background on the risk
                                                                      
								
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