Shreveport, LA (KMSS) — Men who have sex with men can't donate blood, regardless of their health status.
The National Gay Blood Drive is hoping to bring attention to that ban issued by the Food and Drug Administration in 1983.
Joshua Gault is gay and would like the chance to donate blood. "It's really sad because i could help save lives. Every 2 seconds in the united states somebody is in need of blood. That means there's 41 thousand donations needed each day and I could be one of those 41 thousand.
Friday, gay men in 61 cities nationwide invited their friends and family to donate blood in their name.
April Dahm donated for all gay men. She’s against the blanket ban, giving this as her reason, "I think it's a political decision, and I think if anyone is able to give blood, they should be able to, regardless of their sexual orientation."
She’s not the only person who thinks that way. 85 different Congress people have come forward against it. The American Medical Association has adopting a policy opposing the ban. Through a statement, said Dr. William Kobler, AMA board member said this, “the lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science. 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."
This ban has already been lifted in many countries. Following advances in HIV testing, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, Japan, Russia, and Mexico all reversed blanket bans on donations from men who have sex with men.
However, while events like the National Gay Blood Drive and groups like the AMA may bring attention to the ban, ultimately the FDA will decide if the ban stays or goes.
That said, organizers of the nationwide Gay Blood Drive have started a petition to get the ban lifted. If they received 100,000 signature by July 30, the White House will issue a response. That response could behoove the FDA to take action or comment on why they support continuing the ban. To sign that petition, click here.