Update #16 ·

Major Development in our Campaign!

One step forward today! The Dept. of Health and Human Services wants to recommend a one year deferral instead of a lifetime deferral for MSM. 

We applaud the progress, but are still disappointed that they are focusing on sexual orientation instead of individual sexual behavior.

ABC Reports:

Ban on Gay Blood Donors May End
Sept. 14 By Sascha Segan

A federal panel is considering overturning a ban on blood bank donations by gay men — a rule implemented 15 years ago out of fear of AIDS. The 1985 ban declares that any man who has had sex with another man even once since 1977 cannot give blood. Now, blood bank officials say it’s time to change the rule, and the Federal Drug Administration’s Blood Products Advisory Committee is meeting today and Friday to discuss it. 

“The FDA’s finally responding to the science,” says Debra Kessler, director of regional services at the New York Blood Center, the nation’s largest blood bank. The FDA had no official comment on the possible change. Agency officials say they have reviewed the policy every few years and that their priority was the safety of the blood supply. 

Any change in the policy would be implemented come months from now, if at all, says Kessler. 

Science or Discrimination?

Under the current rule, a heterosexual woman who has had sex with numerous AIDS-infected partners can give blood after waiting a year, but a gay man who’s been celibate since 1978 is banned. Gay activists say that’s discrimination. “The existing policy is archaic and discriminatory because it falsely assumes that all gay men are HIV-positive regardless of their sexual behavior. At the same time, it allows heterosexuals to donate blood even if they have participated in risky sexual or drug-use behavior,” says Martin Algaze, spokesman for Gay Men’s Health Crisis. 

Safety of the blood supply is the first priority, agrees Doni Gewirtzman of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, a legal-aid organization for gay people and people with AIDS. He suggests the current restrictions may be too tight on gays and too loose on promiscuous heterosexuals. “Everyone is equally at risk for HIV infection. 

It’s about specific sexual behavior, not about sexual orientation,” says Tom Duane, a Democratic New York state senator who is both openly gay and HIV-positive. 

Blood bank officials say AIDS-detection technology has vastly improved since the 1980s. Back then, tests only checked for antibodies to the virus. Now they check for parts of the virus itself. 

Continue reading the full article here.

What are your thoughts on a one-year deferral compared to the current lifetime ban? 

Brett and I will still be banned from donating blood but we believe that this is a step in the right direction.

Campaign closed

When Blake went to donate blood for his friend Emmy (who has sickle cell anemia) he was turned away because he is gay. That's when he and and his partner Brett decided to do something about it.   At first thought the FDA's policy that bans gay men from donating blood appears to discriminate against a small minority of citizens. In reality, it affects not just those targeted by the…

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, and his voice is well respected throughout the medical community.  With a specialized knowledge of HIV/AIDS and an awareness of the blood shortages in the US, Gupta must recognize that lifting the gay blood ban would not only help to save lives, but would also put an end to a discriminatory policy. The American Red Cross, the…

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Every 2 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. By making this pledge you are going to help save lives.  While gay and bisexual men are BANNED for donating blood, it is incredibly powerful to have eligible donors donate blood in our place. By donating blood for a gay and bisexual man you are also supporting LGBT equality and calling for an end of the Gay Blood Ban.  While donating blood be…

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