The UK changes its blood donation policies allowing more gay and bisexual men to give

A lot has changed since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the '80s. Sadly, up to 40 million people died across the world due to the epidemic, but the numbers have been dropping rapidly over the past 15 years.

New HIV infections have been reduced by 40% since the infection rate reached its peak in 1998, and AIDS-related deaths are down 60% since 2004.

Over the past three decades, scientific advancements have turned an HIV diagnosis from a death sentence to a manageable condition. As a result, many countries in the Western world are beginning to reevaluate how the medical community sees those most likely to become infected.



via Matt Buck / Flickr

Currently, UK rules stipulate that "all men must wait three months after having oral or anal sex with another man before donating."

However, these rules were seen as unnecessary and discriminatory against men who have sex with men. So, starting in the summer, the UK is relaxing its rules and allowing all blood donors who have had one sexual partner and have been with them for more than three months to be able to donate.

These rules apply regardless of gender or the type of sex acts they've performed.

Donors who have had more than one sex partner or a new one in the past three months will be allowed to donate only if they've abstained from anal sex.

According to the CDC, anal sex is the riskiest type of intercourse for getting or transmitting HIV.

These recommended changes came after The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs — which advises the UK health department — examined the latest evidence regarding the safety of blood donors.

The UK government claims their new approach to blood donors is a "more individualized risk-based approach" to donor selection criteria. "Patients rely on the generosity and altruism of donors for their life-saving blood. I'm pleased to have concluded that these new changes to donor selection will keep blood just as safe," Su Brailsford, associate medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant," said according to the BBC.

"This landmark change to blood donation is safe and it will allow many more people, who have previously been excluded by donor selection criteria, to take the opportunity to help save lives," Health Secretary Matt Hancock adds.

"This policy is a fundamental shift toward recognizing people are individuals," Ethan Spibey, the founder of FreedomToDonate, a British activist group, told The New York Times. He added hoped it would "have ripple effects around the world for potentially millions of gay and bi men."

The United States recently relaxed its restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men. In 2015, the FDA lifted the lifetime ban for gay and bisexual males and reduced it to any men who had homosexual sex within the past 12 months.

On April 2, 2020, to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA reduced the ban to men who've had sex with men within the past three months.

The new ruling also allowed women who've had sex with a man who's had sex with a man to donate after three months of abstinence as well.

"To help address this critical need and increase the number of donations, the FDA is announcing today that based on recently completed studies and epidemiologic data, we have concluded that the current policies regarding the eligibility of certain donors can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply," the notice said.

These changes in policy acknowledge that when it comes to how we see people from a medical perspective, it's more important to judge them based on their behavior than their sexuality. Responsibility knows no orientation, so hopefully, more governments will follow suit in reassessing how blood donors are evaluated.

If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

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