Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And Keep Blood Between Brothers

The bloodmobile made a stop at work on Monday and I was able to find time to make a donation. In the past, giving blood meant having to endure a series of invasive screening questions delivered by a bloodmobile worker who was often obviously anxious about doing so. I recall one particularly uncomfortable instance when a matronly older woman struggled to maintain her sense of propriety and decorum while asking me if I had sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money or drugs or other payment for sex. It was like being interviewed on your sex life by your grandmother and neither of us was happy about having to go through it.

Fortunately the wheels of progress keep on a turnin' and today no such personal interaction is required to complete the screening. Instead, you sit alone in a tiny room and answer the questions on a laptop. It's a much better process and one that even provides for a bit of humor.

Since we are so accustomed to visual stimulation these days, each of the screening questions is accompanied by an appropriate picture. For example, when you are asked "Have you ever had Chagas disease?" you see a picture of the critter responsible for its spread:

The smiles come when you get a question like:

"Have you ever had sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis?"

Paired with a stock photo of a happy couple doing something innocuous.

Or this:

"Have you ever had sexual contact with a person who has ever used needles to take drugs or steroids, or anything not prescribed by a doctor?"

Which one was on 'roids?

I wonder what it would be like to see your picture show up next to a question like:

"Have you ever paid to have sexual contact with a tattooed hemophiliac pygmy?"

However, I think the most unusual and interesting of all the blood screening question/photo pairings is this one.

"Male donors; have you ever had sexual contact with another male, even once?"

Even once?


Blogger Margaret said...

Chagas was a real problem in Venezuela. It affects every system in the body including the nervous system in the heart. Left untreated it leads to a horrible death. Treated and you are still likely to have serious side effects for the rest of your life. The critter is called a Chipo.

5:23 PM  

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