6708370 tn?1471490210

Giving Blood

Once one is cured of Hep C, why is it not allowable to donate blood or organs?
I was reminded of this after reading that gay men are not permitted to donate blood to the victims of the Orlando massacre. Simply bigotry, IMO but I have never understood why this applies to those who treated for Hep C and were cured as well. Leaves a kind of lingering feeling that some part of that nasty virus is still lurking. What do you think?
9 Responses
2059648 tn?1439766665
It's hard to pin down when an infection is present without an additional PC RNA Hepititis C test.   This test is costly and would have to be administered every time you donated blood.   The business of blood products is very costly when any mistakes occur.  I believe it's easier and cost effective just to deni Hepatitic C positive donors.  

The positive side is many donors who weren't aware of their Hepatis C status....do find our and directed to help.   All Hepatitis C positive donors are contacted by the Health Department in their county.   If not, you can contact them directly to get direct to treatment.

I hope this is helpful
683231 tn?1467323017
Also they would have to sequester all hep c positive antibody blood and perform the more expensive HCV RNA testing to determine which samples were safe to use.

This just is not practical at the present for blood banks is my assumption
Yeah, I'm thinking you would still test positive for antibodies, just an undetected viral load.  I could be wrong about that.  As far as gay men not being able to give blood, I don't know how they figure that one out but they obviously have a way.      
Yes they do.  It's called asking and answering honestly.
683231 tn?1467323017
And we can be organ donors a least in some states maybe all is what I have heard. I have not researched where but have read we can especially if the recipient is hep c positive and for example needs a kidney or liver that is not too messed up like mine is. My kidneys and other organs are fine as far as I know.
683231 tn?1467323017
Yes we will always test positive for hep c antibodies.

A few people who were cured years ago had their doctors do a antibody test and they were freaked out unnecessarily just remember to never have a hep c antibody test it is a waste of time we know what the result will be.

Gay men have not been able to donate blood since the AIDS crisis began. The way they figure it out is that is a question on the form to donate blood. I believe I have heard some are considering dropping the question form the pre-donation intake form
683231 tn?1467323017
found this

(CNN)The Food and Drug Administration has lifted its lifetime ban on accepting blood donations from men who have had sex with men.
"The FDA is changing its recommendation that men who have sex with men (MSM) be indefinitely deferred . . . to 12 months since the last sexual contact with another man," the administration announced Monday.

This final guidance from the FDA is the culmination of several years of scientific research as well as consultation with external advisory committees and other government agencies.
My son is gay.  And has been gay for decades.   He doesn't have hepatitis C or HIV.  Anyone can get these.  Safe sex is a educated choice.  
683231 tn?1467323017
Avatar universal
The blood donation ban was a reaction to an at the time always fatal disease for which there was no treatment and also no blood test.  Nobody even knew whar caused it.  The only thing known at the time was that it was showing up, essentially, in gay men and, to a lesser extent, in women who had had sex with a man who had had gay sex.  As soon as it was known that AIDS was caused by the HIV virus, and a test for HIV antibodies was developed, there was no longer a medical justification for the ban but it continued, largely as a result of societal attitudes towards homosexuality.  Now, as of Dec. 2015, the lifetime ban has been lifted by the ARC.  The process now is that one needs to wait 12 months after sex with another man, the same as with having gotten a tattoo with non-sterile equipment, returning from another country in which certain diseases are endemic, having received a transfusion in France, where the blood supply was found to be contaminated, etc.  Donated blood is automatically tested for several things, such as HIV and Hepatitis. The tests detect the presence of antibodies to the viruses.  If you have the antibo for a virus, you either have or have had the virus.  If infected with, for example, Hep C, you might still test negative at first.  The 12 months waiting period is to allow your body to start showing antibodies to anything you might have been infected with.   Unfortunately, from the point of view of a willing blood donor, this is still not a perfect situaition.  Once exposed to certain things, such as HIV or Hepatitis, you will always have the antibodies even if you no longer have the virus, so even if you're "clean" you'll test positive and your donated bood will be discarded.  There are tests for the actual presence of the viruses themselves, but they are both time consuming and expensive, so it isn't practical to use them as a blood screening method. Nor would it be practical to run the actual virus test every time a blood sample shows the antibody.  Although about 15% of people have systems that will kill off HIV, and about 20% the same for Hep C, MOST who have the antibody actually have the virus itself.  If they spent the time and money to follow all positive antibody tests up with tests for the actual virus concerned, no more than 20% of the blood would turn ourt to be safe.  I picked up Hepatitis C somewhere sometime, probably in Vietnam, and probably from transfusions after a gunshot wound, the only time in my life where i would have been likely to have gotten it..  Fortunately, I turned out to be one of the about 20% of people whose system can kill the virus off, i've never been sick from it, and I'm virus free.  But I still have, and will always have, the antibodies, so I can't donate blood.  Or, if I do, the blood will be discarded when the Hep C antibody test is positive.

So the current proceduere isn't oerfect, it results in some smount of perfectly safe blood being unuseable, but it's a lot better than a lifetime ban for people who even mighht have been exposed to certain things, such as gay men.
6708370 tn?1471490210
Good answers. Thanks!

Perhaps one could donate if the recipient had Hep C? I know that some liver transplant patients receive livers from cadavers whose livers are infected with Hep C. Not a perfect choice but a stop gap measure for those who will otherwise die while waiting on the transplant list

Now that the new drug regimens make treatment relatively easy and are so effective, perhaps the new liver and the new caretaker of that liver could go through treatment post-transplant
Avatar universal
As a cancer survivor I'm told that my blood could be contaminated and am not eligible for donation.
I live close to Orlando and have O- which was much in demand but couldn't participate.
Sad but true
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