You’re not from the dark continent, are you DG?

In a move sure to further incite Wayan, the Red Cross has altered their questions since the last time I donated. Next to last on the list I had to peruse before they’d stab me with their 18ga: have I had sex with someone who is from or has lived in Africa. It doesn’t say if this is or is not a deal breaker for them, but I figured that even though my darling girlfriend is adopted and we can’t be 100% sure exactly where she came from, my blond-haired ivory dearheart is probably not from one of the West-African states that the Red Cross is concerned about.

Before Wayan or Kim hit full dudgeon, however, I’ll share with you what I discovered their reasoning is: HIV “type O” (here I thought I was well informed but this was new to me) is common in many west African states, and apparently it is prone to evade detection tests. (!) So if you’re looking for that van, Nigelmoose, I hope you’re from the US or European.

7 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on October 11th, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

    Yeah, I noticed this when I did a double-red donation the other week (which, by the way, are awesome because the machine that sucks red blood cells out of you also pumps back in glucose-saline solution).

    Anyway, I was answering questions on a computer (not sure if all sites do that) and I got the one that said, "Have you ever had sex with someone born in Africa?"

    I immediately thought of Charleze Theron, who is South African, but since the question wasn’t about my fantasy life I was able to answer no.

  2. Don (unregistered) on October 11th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

    If anyone is wondering, Mike is talking about the type of apheresis listed in the wikipedia article under "Automated Red Cell Collection (2RBC)"

    The Red Cross asked me to donate platelets many years ago but I just couldn’t agree. Two hours (maybe it’s different now) hooked up to the machine is bad enough, but there’s not a good vein in my left arm, making it either much harder or necessitating an even LONGER procedure…

  3. Wayan (unregistered) on October 11th, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

    Now there are what? 20 people left in DC who can give blood? The Red Cross might as well just say: We only take blood from people who have never left the house.

  4. Don (unregistered) on October 12th, 2007 @ 8:55 am

    Well Wayan, I guess you can come to your own conclusions about whether it’s in the interest of the Red Cross’ mission to soothe your ego and affirm your personal beliefs or to make the choices that maximize the safety of the blood they provide.

    I don’t know that I think their exact way of doing all these things are how I would do it, though they almost certainly have invested more research into the efficacy of their methods than I have, but I cannot fault them for trying to avoid taking blood that has an above-average risk of being contaminated with a less detectable HIV strain.

  5. Mike (unregistered) on October 12th, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    The machine takes well under 2 hours for me, but I’m a fast bleeder. It seemed more like 40 minutes. What’s great is that with the saline solution they pump back in, you get up more hydrated than you were when you went in.

  6. nigelmoose (unregistered) on October 12th, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    Thanks for the info. I missed the van yesterday but will get myself to another site soon. And yes, I’m the pastiest white girl you’ll ever meet, and I rarely leave the house, so they love me.
    I did apheresis once–apparently I have an extraordinarily high platelet count–but found it to be incredibly uncomfortable–my arms were aching for the 2 hours that it took. Anyone else have that? I’d like to do it again, but man, was it unpleasant!

  7. KateDDC (unregistered) on October 13th, 2007 @ 8:56 am

    I used to do apheresis on a fairly regular schedule. Ask for the "one armed" machine (though they might all be that, now). It takes a little longer, but then you only have the ache in one arm. I usually came in just under 90 minutes – which meant I never saw the last 10 minutes of the movies I watched.

    I get more stiffness than ache. They’d usually put a heating pad on that arm if I mentioned the stiffness. They do a great job of keeping you as comfortable as possible, I’ve found.

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