HOUSTON (KTRK) – On Friday, organizers of the National Gay Blood Drive will be bringing people together from all over the county to protest an FDA ruling that bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood. They claim that the FDA ruling, which has been in place for decades, is discriminatory.
In the early 1980’s, after it was discovered that HIV could be transferred via blood transfusions, the FDA intensified the screening process by which people were determined eligible to give blood. A man could be banned from giving blood if he answered the following question in the affirmative: “Are you a man who has ever had sex with another man?’
The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and other blood gathering organizations support changes to the permanent ban. For example, they believe men who have not had sex with other men for at least a year should be allowed to donate blood.
The FDA has also banned individuals who have contracted any type of hepatitis since age 11, anyone who has had malaria, and in some instances, survivors of certain types of cancer.