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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » confused about sti risks, sexual intercourse and donating blood

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Author Topic: confused about sti risks, sexual intercourse and donating blood
finn8312
Neophyte
Member # 110431

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Hi Scarleteam,

thanks upfront for the brilliant information you all are providing on this website. It really helped me a lot to read tons of the information you provide.

But today the real world made me confused about what I read here:
I wanted to donate blood and was asked if I had unprotected sexual intercourse with a new partner in the last 6 month. I had unprotected passive oral sex (I am a girl) and unprotected active and passive manual sex*. I wasn't sure about the definition of sexual intercourse, so I asked if this in their definition falls under sexual intercourse and their answer was yes and that I was not allowed to donate blood, since they can't reliably test my blood for hepatitis then, since I have been with this partner for less than 6 month.

And now I am confused, because according to your "Can I get an STI from that?"-list I didn't do anything which bears the risk of getting hepatitis from a partner (my mouth and genitals only had contact with his saliva, and my (cut- and bruise-free) hand was the only part of me that had contact with his semen). Ok, maybe they are extra strict when it comes to donating blood. This would make sense. But ... they specifically said hepatitis, they were not concerned about my activities with respect to syphillis or other things which ARE on your risk-list for cunnilingus. Also ...

When I came home I asked a friend of mine, which I know had donated blood recently and also had a new partner prior to this, why he was allowed to donate although they had unprotected oral and manual sex ... the answer: He didn't ask what sexual intercourse meant for them and just assumend that it is penis-in-vagina sex, which he didn't have unprotected, so he just answered "no" and no further questions were asked. He could donate. (If you think this further, theoretically someone who thinks "sexual intercourse = penis-in-vagina-sex", but has analingus and shares vaginal fluids and semen with multiple untested partners, is then fit to donate.)

All of this makes me confused and wondering if there is an official (as in law, regulation or at least blood donating organisation) definition of "(unprotected) sexual intercourse" and the accompanied risks for STIs THEY assume. Do you know if there is such a thing? I would love to understand why there is such a disparity in safety issues when it comes to donating blood.


finn8312


*all with the same guy, which I have known for way longer than 4 month and we both are STI-free. So this unprotected sexual activities are safe for both of us. But this is not the point of my post.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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On that article you're referring to, we are clear that oral sex does, indeed, pose risks of STI transmission. We also make clear here -- http://www.scarleteen.com/article/sexual_health/sti_risk_assessment_the_cliffs_notes -- that Hepatitis is a risk with oral sex.

I have only just noticed now, however, when you have mentioned it, that while we're clear about Hep being an issue with oral sex in all our other STI content, somehow it got left off the list in that piece, for which I am very sorry. I will fix that immediately.

Mind, when it comes to donating blood, HIV is also a major concern, and that, too, is something to be concerned about with unprotected oral sex. There is no way any blood-donation organization is just not concerned about HIV, for all the obvious reasons. (And to the degree that many organizations who collect donor blood still have regulations full of bias and ignorance when it comes to gay men.)

Ultimately, when it comes to standards with donating blood, you'd really have to ask the agency you are donating about theirs, and my understanding is that there is not an arbitrary standard with many aspects of donating blood. There are some things most places do seem to hold to -- for instance, I can still not donate blood due to being in the UK during the spread of Mad Cow Disease, even though I was not then, nor now, a meateater. But with other things, like this, you are going to find less consistency. Mind, it also has to do with how honest people are being who are donating, and how many questions, specifically, are being asked about people's sexual histories.

But do know that per standards of who is and isn't cleared for STIs, agencies holding to a standard that they can't assume (and you shouldn't either) someone is free of all of them when they haven't been able to yet be tested in a way where those results are reliable is sound. Because, yep, when we have not been with someone exclusively for at least six months, and have not, AFTER those six months, each had new full screenings (or as full as they can be, accounting for the fact that people with penises can't be accurately screened for HPV)? We can't figure we're STI-free, and it's sound for a blood collecting agency not to assume that, either.

And now I'm off to update that piece: again, my apologies for the oversight there.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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finn8312
Neophyte
Member # 110431

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Hi Heather,

thanks for the super fast reply!

I didn't mean to imply the blood collecting agency should take my word on my partners STI-freeness for granted or not demand those 6 month period or that unprotected oral sex is risk free. I was just puzzled that - given the various interpretations of "sexual intercourse" - they give no further definition, which obviously leads to people who have unprotected sexual intercourse with untested partners to be able to donate blood.

And with Hep being added to the list (I didn't read the Cliff's notes until 2 minutes ago), my confusion about their hep-argument is gone as well!

(As for my partner and me: we went from being close friends to being friends-with-benefits and prior to starting our benefits we both did have 3 month of not having any sexual partner. So the 6 month waiting period before we did our STI-tests started before we were sexual partners. Which after negative test results lead us to have unprotected sexual contact in month 4 of us being sexual partners. Hence the question of the blood collection agency applied.)

But asking the agency is a good thought. I think I will do this, since I have asked more friends in the meantime what their understanding of "sexual intercourse" is and it is 50:50 whether or not they count oral sex. So contacting the blood collection agency again and asking what their definition is, might get them thinking, that giving a definition in their questionaire might be useful ;-)

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Again, I am so sorry about that oversight: it's been fixed now, and I really appreciate you pointing out the discrepancy.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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