The Centers for Disease Control is telling people to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic for HIV testing where staffers told one man who admitted he believed he had a sexually transmitted disease to donate blood.
Planned Parenthood in Virginia, in May, had to take corrective action regarding an employee who encouraged an undercover investigator who said he may have an STD to donate blood. During the video shoot Live Action conducted showing Planned Parenthood staffers helping alleged sexual traffickers get abortions and STD testing for the underage girls at the Roanoke, Virginia abortion facility, a staffer told the Live Action undercover agent to attempt to donate blood because he can get free testing.
David Schmidt, the research director for Live Action, said the advice was problematic because it “was not a mere hypothetical scenario involving a ‘fake patient.’ The employee actually said – unreservedly on her own initiative – that she has been ‘tell[ing] a lot of people’ who might have sexually transmitted diseases to do the same thing.”
“I tell a lot of people, I say if you know, you’re not quite sure, you’re not having any symptoms, but for peace of mind, go donate blood– ’cause if you go donate blood, they have to test for everything anyway,” The Planned Parenthood staffer said.
Now, according to Kelsey Hazzard, a law student at the University of Virginia and the head of Secular Pro-Life, today is National HIV Testing Day. However, the Centers for Disease Control has a website, HIVTest.org, which lists testing locations throughout the country, that refers to Planned Parenthood’s Roanoke, Virginia abortion center as a place to obtain rapid HIV testing.
“I commend them for their efforts to eliminate this life-threatening illness. There’s just one small problem,” Hazzard says. “Yes, the CDC site is referring possible HIV-positive individuals to that same Planned Parenthood in Roanoke. I sincerely hope that the Planned Parenthood will not refer these individuals to the local blood bank.”
“Fortunately, people in need of HIV testing do have other, healthy options available. Planned Parenthood is not the only provider of legitimate reproductive healthcare,” Hazzard added. “In fact, HIVTest.org shows that there are at least eight other HIV testing locations within a 30-mile radius of Roanoke.”
After filing a complaint about Planned Parenthood in Roanoke with the Roanoke City Health Department, the health department told Live Action: “[Planned Parenthood] certainly appreciated being notified of that … and they said they had already been made aware of that and have instructed the staff member, and a corrective plan is in place with training. So they seem to be pretty on top of that issue.”
Schmidt said his organization heard from Ruth D. Sylvester, Director of Regulatory Services for America’s Blood, who was very concerned about what she saw in the video concerning the man with a potential STD donating blood.
“Donating blood is not an appropriate mechanism to obtain screening for sexually transmitted diseases or any other test result. Though donated blood is screened, and is safer than it has ever been, the hallmark of the system is the honesty of the donor in completing the donor history questionnaire,” Sylvester said. “Additionally, in the eyes of the Food and Drug Administration, these donors would not be considered “volunteer” because they are donating for the purposes of obtaining something in return, hence, they would have a reason to be less than truthful.”
The conversation with the Planned Parenthood staffer in the video takes place as follows:
Undercover Reporter as Pimp: Hi, um, let me see, is there someone I could talk to about testing?
Undercover Reporter as Pimp: Ok, so I’m kind of experiencing some slight burning sensation….. is that, I don’t think that’s normal, right?
Planned Parenthood: No. It’s not normal.
Planned Parenthood: Well, uh *laughs*, see I tell a lot of people, I say if you know, if you’re not quite sure, you’re not having any symptoms, but for peace of mind, go donate blood – cause if you go donate blood, they have to test for everything anyway. And you know, a lot of plasma places, they’ll test you for free.
Undercover Reporter as Pimp: That’s good information.
Planned Parenthood: And they pay you for your plasma. You know what I mean? So, there’s several different ways around it without having to spend a whole lot of money.
Schmidt says blood centers say “that it was very bad advice and that if people think they have an STD or other condition that they should address that condition before attempting to donate blood. I was also told that if one attempts to donate blood and is found to be ineligible through testing, they will only tell you that you are ineligible. They will not tell you the details of your positive result so that blood donation centers don’t get abused as disease testing centers.”
“It appears that they have had to put in policy to prevent the very thing that Planned Parenthood is encouraging. This direction from Planned Parenthood staff is making it harder for blood donation centers to collect good blood and save lives,’ Schmidt added.