England’s National Health Service had a creative way to respond to criticisms of racism after they asked for more blood donors from the black community.
According to Twitter, the NHS faced accusations and racism when they sought more donations from black donors.
While blood types can and do transcend ethnicity, certain kinds of blood types tend to be more prevalent in particular demographics. Matching blood types is key when dealing with blood transfusions as only the matching guidelines for which types can donate to and receive from other types is quite specific.
The thread then spoke of Sickle Cell Disease, a life-long condition that can lead to painful episodes, hospitalization and even death. Blood transfusions are important for treating those born with the disease. Those who have the disease, which is more likely to affect black people, commonly have Ro blood.
The thread explained that it needed more donors with Ro blood, but it isn’t always easy asking for it.
“And if you’re black, please register as a new donor — more and more ill people need your help every day,” the thread asked towards the end.
And if saving someone’s life is not incentive enough, then potential donors were also made aware of the fact that they receive “biscuits and a cuppa after each and every donation.”
Needless to say, people were thoroughly shocked by how much they loved the NHS thread.
England is not the only country facing hurdles in their blood donor demographics.
Mass casualty tragedies in America highlight a ban that many have criticized as unscientific and outdated. In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was a lifting a lifetime ban passed in 1983 that prevented “men who have had sex with other men,” or MSM, from donating blood. The ban was initially passed at the beginning of the AIDS crisis in America, a time CNN notes when people knew very little about the disease.
However, the rules that replaced the ban still prevent gay and bisexual men from donating blood if they have had a sexual encounter within 12 months of the time they sought to donate. This has hurt many who sought to donate in certain times of crisis, such as the friends and family members who sought to help their loved ones following the 2016 shooting in Orlando that targeted Pulse, an LGBT+ nightclub.
As Rare’s Carlin Becker noted:
The revised ban also still targets a high-risk group rather than high-risk behavior, a flawed way to calculate a person’s chance of HIV exposure. MSM are at a higher risk of being HIV-positive than others, but the ban fails to take into consideration risk factors, such as frequent, unprotected sex with multiple partners regardless of gender or drug use. Additionally, the restriction was initially introduced when HIV testing was slower and less-refined. However, tests today can detect the virus within days after infection, further reducing the chance of passing the disease along to a recipient.