tumblr_inline_n3blneKJSY1sro7uqThis past Friday, the National Gay Blood Drive held its second annual nationwide effort to protest the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban against gay and bisexual men donating blood. The ban was imposed in 1983 when there was no effective or simple test to detect HIV.

A FDA spokesperson told TIME that the agency would be willing to consider a policy change if available data showed that lifting the ban provided no additional risk to recipients of donated blood.

“Although scientific evidence has not yet demonstrated that blood donated by [men who have sex with men] or a subgroup of these potential donors does not have a substantially increased rate of HIV infection compared to currently accepted blood donors, the FDA remains willing to consider new approaches to donor screening and testing,” the agency writes in an e-mail.

Meanwhile, the National Gay Blood Drive recently launched a White House petition calling on the FDA to change the policy. The White House will issue a response if the petition receives 100,000 signatures by July 30.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has already voted to end the ban because of new HIV detection techniques. “The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science,” says AMA board member Dr. William Kobler in a statement. “This new policy urges a federal policy change to ensure blood donation bans or deferrals are applied to donors according to their individual level of risk and are not based on sexual orientation alone.”

The Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability voted to keep the ban.

Read more on the National Gay Blood Drive and the FDA ban.

 

 

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  • LemonnLime

    I’m honestly curious, what is the big deal about being able to donate blood?

    • Kai26

      For gay people or in general?

    • LemonnLime

      For gay people. I guess I just figure there is no monetary reward and it keeps you from having the blood banks constantly hassling you for blood (I say this because my Dad is O- and the blood banks call him all the time) so I don’t see why it is a big deal to be able to donate it.

    • CAsweetface

      Gay people don’t want to feel as though they are being excluded from participating in something based on old science from the 80’s saying they posed higher risks of disease. Banning an entire group for over 30 years when there are now extensive testing measures that can be taken is why they are up an arms.

    • Kema

      Omg! I may be a bad person but I just blocked the blood bank on my phone. They were calling like bill collectors.

    • Kai26

      I am O too, and Red Cross would call me like crazy. I had to tell them to stop.