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04 October 2006


jan de voort

This is Jan in Johannesburg. Thanks so much for highlighting gay-related news in Africa and South Africa.


There may be some benefit to maintaining a certain standard requirement of sexual history for gay blood donors as opposed to straight blood donors. The predominant strain of the virus in southern Africa is HIV-1 C, while the predominant strain in Europe, the Americas, Japan and Australia is HIV-1 B. Strain B is mostly spread by homosexual contacts (via blood), while strain C is more commonly and perhaps more easily spread heterosexually (via a mucosal route) than B is (source: web page cited below, in the specific paragraphs mentioned). In order to hinder the spread of HIV-1 B in South Africa through blood transfusions, it might very well make sense to require that gay blood donors have refrained from sex, and certainly at least from unprotected sex, for the period of time it would take for an infected person to develop antibodies (six months). That way, one could be sure that if an infected person gave blood, the infection would be detected by an antibody test. The website from which I took the information about HIV strains is:

*Where are the different subtypes and CRFs found?
*Are there differences in transmission?

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