We can't afford to repeat the '80s' mistakes

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the Editor:
In the 1980s and early 1990s, 1,100 people were infected with HIV and 20,000 were infected with Hepatitis C because of a tainted blood supply. Two thousand people died as a result. For those who survived, most days it’s a struggle to get by.

The mistakes that led to this tragedy were based on politics and pressure rather than science. King’s University College Students’ Council is considering a motion to ban Canadian Blood Services from King’s campus because of its policy, which prevents men who have had sex with men from donating blood.

I doubt many students are experts in infectious disease. Scientific evidence indicating the gay community is a population more prone to blood-borne viruses has led CBS to make this one of its many criteria for screening donors.

Furthermore, a boycott of CBS based on oversimplification of the issue would demonize CBS to potential lifelong blood donors and in the long run jeopardize the blood supply.

Simply put, when there is not enough blood, people die. When blood safety is not ensured, people die.

Past mistakes cannot be forgotten. We know too well that the gift of life can become a death sentence.

Students must do their homework before making up their minds on such an important issue.
"Paul Wilton
Politics V

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