AIDS: What the Government Isn't Telling You
by Lorraine Day, M.D.
(Part 3)

As previously noted, HIV infection may occur at least 35 months 
before antibodies can be detected. This means that, since a test 
for antibodies is used to determine whether donated blood is 
accepted or not by the blood banks, someone with an early stage 
HIV infection, who therefore would pass the blood screening tests 
because antibodies do not show up immediately, can easily donate 
blood. This means that our blood supply is *still* infected, 
though to what extent is not known.

Not to say that "blood bankers" are all that picky about blood 
donors anyway. Dr. Day includes the following passage, written by 
an anonymous blood banker:

  The story has been "community spirit" for the good of the 
  community -- with no self-gain by those employed by the 
  blood bank.

  In actuality, no blood bank in the United States has ever 
  gone bankrupt. They have all been profitable. They do not 
  distribute their profits to the shareholders, (i.e. the 
  public) but they certainly pay themselves handsome salaries 
  with significant "perks."

  The only concern the fresh blood provider has is this: "How 
  can I get enough donors?" There is no trouble getting enough 
  customers -- i.e., every captive hospital in his territory 
  is a customer. While self-limiting in the sense that there 
  are a finite number of hospitals and a finite number of 
  patients which may use a finite amount of blood, any 
  business can operate profitably in a "known market" -- 
  particularly if monopolizing 100% of that market.

  The limited source of donors, however, is a different 
  matter. The fresh blood sector uses one basic recruiting 
  method which I refer to as the "guilt trip." There was a 
  time when other motivations were used -- that is, reduction 
  in the hospital bill, free lunches, free dinners, grocery 
  certificates, cash, etc. This is not so much done anymore.

  One inducement other than the "laying on of guilt" is still 
  used today, although reduced somewhat by the currently 
  strained economics {1} of our society. Many unions include 
  in their contracts with employers the stipulation that if a 
  union member donates blood to the local blood provider, that 
  employee gets half a day (or a full day) off of work with 
  pay. This is particularly prevalent with government 
  employees. Some inducement to donate may be pure pressure 
  and competitiveness -- that is, between groups, departments, 

  Nevertheless, the basic message is the implication: "You are 
  a terrible person if you don't help your fellow man who's 
  going to die unless he gets your blood."

  As expected, it is increasingly difficult for the fresh 
  blood sector to recruit donors. As a result, blood banks do 
  not want to reject donors for "minor" reasons -- for 
  example, mild infection, fast pulse, swollen lymph nodes, 

  While every attempt is made to see that a donor qualifies 
  within the limits set by law, no blood banks attempt to 
  apply higher standards than those required by law. Safer 
  blood products at the expense of losing donors is resisted 
  and justified on the grounds that a shortage of blood is 
  more dangerous than the "long odds" of acquiring a blood- 
  borne infection.

  Donors are treated with kid gloves so as not to offend them. 
  The blood bankers have resisted performing physical 
  examinations which can be time-consuming or may reject and 
  embarrass donors. The only driving force behind a blood 
  bank's operation is " -- we do not want to lose donors."

  This economic factor is particularly important in 
  understanding the basis of the lack of action of the fresh 
  blood sector in 1983-85 and their almost criminally late 
  recognition of the fact that AIDS can be transmitted by 

Dr. Day charges that although the blood banks knew early on that 
AIDS *could* be transmitted via the blood, they still did not 
screen out homosexuals at risk for AIDS for the simple reason 
that this would have cost them money to recruit new donors.

In 1987, it came to light that one of the blood banks had known 
for 2 years that their previous calculations regarding the risk 
of AIDS transmission from blood transfusion was not, as they had 
been saying, between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 250,000, but *1 in 
100*. For hemophiliacs needing more frequent transfusions, the 
chances were even worse. According to the *San Francisco 
Examiner*, "fear of AIDS hysteria" was why the secret was kept 
for so long.

"While blood bankers and health officials sat on precedent and 
protocol so as not to 'panic the public,' anyone infected through 
a transfusion could have transmitted the virus."

Of course, no one who *knew* they were infected with HIV would 
still go ahead and donate blood, right? Wrong. Consider the 
following from the *Dallas Gay News*, May 20, 1983:

  There has come the idea that if research money (for AIDS) is 
  not forthcoming at a certain level by a certain date, all 
  gay males should give blood... Whatever action is required 
  to get national attention is valid. If that includes blood 
  terrorism, so be it.

Even today, blood banks do not test for the AIDS virus. "There is 
no routinely available blood test that targets the virus 
directly." Instead, tests are done for the antibodies to the 
virus. Yet, as already mentioned, it can take up to 35 months 
*after infection has occurred* before the antibodies appear.

And consider this: We also have to import much of our blood 
supply from places such as Mexico, which has even less stringent 
testing of its blood supply than we do.

Dr. Day ends this chapter by offering a quote from one C. S. 

  The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of crime 
  that Dickens loved to paint... it is conceived and moved, 
  seconded, carried and minuted in clean, carpeted, warmed and 
  well-lighted offices by quiet men with white collars and cut 
  fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to 
  raise their voices.

--------------------------<< Notes >>----------------------------
{1} "...the currently strained economics of our society." 
Currently strained economics? Not to worry, according to 
Clinton's secretary of labor, professor Robert Reich, formerly of 
Harvard University. Why all we need to do, according to the 
learned professor, is provide more job training! We already have 
Rutgers graduates finding no better employment than tending bar, 
so what can Reich be thinking of? What should we train people to 
be? Harvard professors, so that they, in turn, can produce more 
Harvard professors?!