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B428 - Blood Donation (Amendment) Bill 2012

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    (Original post by JPKC)
    HIV is notoriously difficult to test for.
    then how does one guarantee anyone does not have it? are we saying that no-one should give blood in case they have HIV?

    is it not just as much a risk to let them give blood as anyone else?
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Well let's be honest, tanning salons, VAT changes and a small amendment, it's hardly ground breaking is it? I look forward to seeing better from the Lib Dems though.
    Because the government has done so much better? You can scoff but we've put out bills on topics that actually matter. Wherever think they are good or not a priority or not is irrelevant, it's an issue that needs to be addressed and we're doing it, consistently.
    How about less shrills and more bills from the government?

    (Original post by tehFrance)
    No, purely as I am not allowed to religiously.
    So because you're against it religiously others shouldn't be allowed to give blood. Tis a bit selfish.
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    (Original post by thunder_chunky)
    Because the government has done so much better? You can scoff but we've put out bills on topics that actually matter. Wherever think they are good or not a priority or not is irrelevant, it's an issue that needs to be addressed and we're doing it, consistently.
    How about less shrills and more bills from the government?
    Amending another Bill can hardly be called a Bill in its own right. Many Government departments have already forged ahead with some fairly big plans as you yourself have seen
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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Amending another Bill can hardly be called a Bill in its own right. Many Government departments have already forged ahead with some fairly big plans as you yourself have seen
    We have put other bills forward too. As for this, well it's an amendment but it's an important one. Once again you ignore the symbolism of it and go straight to dismissing it because it's not important enough in your opinion.
    Well we think it's important even though it might not affect us personally.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    Really? 'Disciples of Thatcher' is a religion?
    "I know some who would argue different", was a joke at the expense of a friend of mine, not an actual argument.

    I respect his religion (whatever it may be) however he brought up the non-existent religion of 'Disciples of Thatcher', religious freedom only extends to those that are actual religions and the 'Disciples of Thatcher' is not one, I can find zero information on it so religious freedom in the case of the 'Disciples of Thatcher' does not apply whereas me being a Jew following Judaism it does apply... hence me voting against the bill.

    He was basically taking the piss which I found insulting.
    You're still not quite getting it. You are completely at your liberty to not give blood on religious grounds, but you're not at liberty to force your religious values onto someone else and prevent them from donating their blood, because then you're interfering with their freedom to not practice or be subject to your religion/religious values.

    This is what I meant by respect goes both ways. You're the one who brought up "religious freedoms" in this debate, and you can't expect other people to respect your religious freedoms, if you're happy to go around encroaching on someone else's freedom to not practice or be subject to your religion/religious values.
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    (Original post by SciFiBoy)
    then how does one guarantee anyone does not have it? are we saying that no-one should give blood in case they have HIV?

    is it not just as much a risk to let them give blood as anyone else?
    Gay people are vastly more likely to be infected - 50 times, in fact - which is why there are different guidelines for them in the first place. The proposed amendment is asking for the five-year no-sex period to be collapsed to one-year on the basis that improvements in testing have made HIV detectable within the initial first year of infection, not because current rules are unduly discriminatory.

    That's why the division on this Bill comes down to whether HIV tests have improved - the SABTO Report suggests that this is the case, which is why I'm voting in favour. The issue here is of practicality and safety, not of gay rights.

    (Original post by thunder_chunky)
    We have put other bills forward too. As for this, well it's an amendment but it's an important one. Once again you ignore the symbolism of it and go straight to dismissing it because it's not important enough in your opinion.
    Well we think it's important even though it might not affect us personally.
    Is this an issue of symbolism? Replacing one set of discriminatory policies with another? I was under the impression that this was recommended based on prudence with regards to the past regulations (in the 2011 Act) being now unecessary.
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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    So these tests that find HIV... they could be wrong?
    Yes. HIV has no no symptoms and lots of tests give false positives - eventually AIDs pops along after several years and that's when things like rashes, cancer, respiratory diseases etc. set in.
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    That's why the division on this Bill comes down to whether HIV tests have improved
    I don't think there's any doubt that they have. Let's not forget that this window period is still double the window period given to HIV detection at health centres that test for it. If you're tested for HIV at 3 months and receive a negative then any testing clinic will inform the patient that it's very unlikely they have HIV, but a final test at 6 months is also done in which a further negative means they do not have HIV.

    If I remember correctly, HIV antibodies start becoming detectable within the first 28 days of exposure, which is why by 3 months you can be fairly certain of your result and only go back for a further test as a precaution. It is considered rare for HIV to remain undetectable for up to 6 months, but most of those cases tend to involve somebody who has, for whatever reason, already been on antiretroviral medication. If you also read page 40 and 41 of the Sabto report then it discusses the blood screening process and recent advancements within that area.

    12 months is still a pretty inflated period for detecting HIV, but I also have no interest in challenging it further, simply because I don't see it as a rights issue for anybody. Issues like this should always be guided by research findings and recommendations from leading experts within the field, rather than done by political parties aspiring for the 'pink' vote. Whilst this bill could be interpreted as a gay rights victory, I certainly didn't write it with that aim in mind. The only reason that this bill has been created (at least from my perspective) is because it makes a simple amendment to a bill that falls perfectly in line with recommendations from Sabto, and increasing the number of potential eligibile donors without undermining the recipients safety is only a good thing.

    As for those who keep referring to the simplicity of the bill, I think that speaks more about the shame of this House for leaving it for so long before correcting this error within the first bill. That bill was approved despite the same recommendations influencing this bill being available back in 2011. Who knows how many pints of blood the current over-inflated window period has denied the National Blood Service? Sure, this is a very simple change, but I didn't see anybody else rushing to get it changed considering how simple it is to do. If such a simple amendment can potentially boost donor levels and save lives then it should have been done much sooner.
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    I would appreciate some statistics with regard to the accuracy of HIV testing, until then I'm very much on the fence.
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    (Original post by Keckers)
    I would appreciate some statistics with regard to the accuracy of HIV testing, until then I'm very much on the fence.
    A link was provided in the Bill's detailing, but the relevant quote is here;

    The review noted that process improvements and automation have significantly
    reduced the chance of errors in blood testing such that the modelled risk of a HIV
    infectious donation being released into the blood supply is 1 per 4.4 million
    donations. The introduction of either a 12 month or a 5 year deferral would not
    significantly affect this figure if the number of non-compliant individuals remained
    unchanged.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    A link was provided in the Bill's detailing, but the relevant quote is here;
    Sorry I completely missed the link, my bad. And thanks.
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    (Original post by SciFiBoy)
    can someone answer this for me please:

    if they go through tests before they can donate anyway, why does it matter if they had sex at any stage before donating blood? if the blood is tested and deemed okay then why does it matter?

    (I know nill about this, but this was the first question that came to mind, if they do not do tests or something or can't then please let me know so I can make an informed decision on this bill, thanks in advance )
    Sabto say the following about the triplex testing they currently use to sample blood donations:
    the estimated risk of an HIV infectious unit entering the blood supply through a window period donation not detected by current testing regimes (estimated window period 9 days, test sensitivity 99.9%) is 1 in 5.8 million donations, whereas the risk due to all causes (window period plus error) 1 in 5.38 million donations.
    However, because of the high prevalence of HIV infection within MSM they require additional safeguards to ensure that infection is detected. As my previous post touches upon, the most basic HIV testing can detect antibodies after 28 days, but there are cases (in both MSM and non-MSM) where HIV has remained undetectable for up to 6 months because of other factors, such as donors previously taking antiretroviral medication. As a result, high-risk groups are statistically more likely to provide a false negative sample within blood screening procedures, so the longer window period helps minimise that risk within high-risk groups. After all, the longer the HIV is in the blood, the easier it is for antibodies to be detected. I can't recall an incident in which HIV was undetectable after 6 months of contraction, but Sabto are still recommending 12 months to ensure that there is minimal risk.

    With the 9 day window period for low-risk groups they estimate a chance of infection as 1 in 5.8 million, whereas the MSM 1 year window period has a percentage of 1 in 4.4 million. Both of those numbers are based on the assumption that the donors are not being deceptive, but thankfully any donors who are deceptive are accounted for due to the National Blood Service having additional safeguard in place within blood screening so that they can, in 99.9% of cases, detect HIV. The biggest problem comes from those who lie about their sexual history, but that effect is minimised by safely reducing the window period and educating the public on the current necessity for deferalls.

    It all sounds quite scary when it's worded as 1 in x chance of transmission, but the Sabto report also states:
    None of the handful of HIV transmissions in the UK has been through errors of testing: all have been window period cases and occurred prior to 2002 and prior to the introduction of HIV NAT screening.
    So with the appropriate window periods in place they are able to effectively screen blood samples with extremely minimal risk. There's always going to be that tiny risk, but unless we disband the National Blood Service then the only way to continue minimising it is by being stringent with deferalls and advancing blood screening further. It has come a long way already, and I imagine it will continue progressing in future. For now the experts only feel they can adequately safeguard recipients if MSM donors undergo the 12 month deferall, so that's the reasoning for this bill outlining that time-frame. Thankfully there's still a 99.9% chance of detecting HIV should anybody donate prematurely, but obviously that's not something that should be encouraged.
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    (Original post by Keckers)
    Sorry I completely missed the link, my bad. And thanks.
    So what's your view now? :confused:
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    As a not incredibly infrequent recipient of donated blood, provided that it can be ascertained that the donor has no transferrable disease, any attempt to widen the number of possible donors is welcome from me.
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    Based on the sabto report, i say aye... its simply shortening the time which was set at 5 years due to the inaccuracies of the tests at the time, if year is double the recommended minimum for a final negative from a gum clinic then 12 months seems fine to me
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    Is this an issue of symbolism? Replacing one set of discriminatory policies with another? I was under the impression that this was recommended based on prudence with regards to the past regulations (in the 2011 Act) being now unecessary.
    Partly symbolism and partly making changes that matter. It's hardly making a change for the worst and you'd be wrong to think it or suggest it. It's easing up another restriction that exists on the LGBT community instead of sticking to a decision made years ago based on evidence then. I think it's time we looked at this again and had a modern discussion on it.
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    Again, sure...I guess.
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    This has gone to a second reading
Updated: April 17, 2012
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