The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    Questions in question: gay activists advocate responsible blood donation

    The blood sucking didn’t end with Halloween this year. According to Cathy Kesten, Coordinator of De Anza Health Services, eighty-six people donated blood at De Anza’s blood drive which was held on Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Student Council Chambers. During the Fall 1999 quarter, 60 people donated blood, so this year’s donor increase was forty-three percent.

    Volunteers from the Inter-Club Council were organized by Chair of Activities, Ryan Bellon.

    Keston attributed the increase in blood donors this year to better organization, especially including the ability for donors to make an appointment to give blood, making the process much quicker than waiting in line.

    One blood drive is held at De Anza every quarter. Students who are in good health, seventeen years or older, weigh at least one hundred and ten pounds may be eligible to donate blood every 56 days.

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    Charles Jezycki, Administrative Director of the Peninsula/South Bay office of the Blood Centers of the Pacific, said the next step is to answer the forty highly specialized screening questions including:

    “Are you a male who has had sex with another male at any time since 1977?”

    “Have you received any blood or blood products while in Africa?”

    “Have you ever received drugs or money, even once, in exchange for sex?”

    “Have you visited or lived in the United Kingdom for a total of six months or more during the years of 1980-1996?”

    The forty screening questions are designed to rule out donors at high risk of possibly transmitting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis or Mad Cow disease.

    The rules concerning blood donations are governed by the Federal Drug Administration. Jezycki said there has been some controversy regarding the exclusion of gay men who practice safe sex from being able to donate blood. Many gay activists feel that five years of abstinence from sex with another male is adequate to protect against HIV infection of the blood supply, but the FDA sticks to its “1977” rule, despite the fact that all donated blood is tested for HIV.

    “Only four per cent of the U.S. population donates blood. Rates of blood donation are declining while demand for blood is rising. We always need more blood,” Charles Jezycki said.

    Holidays are a time when the discrepancy between need and donations is at its worst. Young people could be the best source for blood donors, because of their tendency to be in good health.

    According to the Blood Center of the Pacific website, “Only sterile, disposable equipment is used throughout the donation process, which makes it virtually impossible to contract a disease from donating blood.”

    The website also lists these 10 Reasons to donate blood:

    – Blood transfusions save lives.

    – There’s no substitute for human blood.

    – Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion.

    – About 60 percent of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than five percent do.

    – A pint of blood, separated in to components, can help up to three people.

    – Donors make their community a safer place.

    – Fulfills donors desire to “give back” to the community.

    – Donors receive a mini physical (blood pressure, temperature, iron level).

    – Donors learn their blood type.

    – It’s safe, simple and it saves lives.

    De Anza’s next blood drive is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2001, according to Tomas Lee, Field Recruiter for the Blood Centers of the Pacific.

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