Thursday, October 13, 2005
That's Just Wrong: Gay men donate blood
Will and his partner are like a well-oiled machine when it comes to making their morning coffee.
Will, wanted to donate blood: We never had a fight. Never had one fight.
They have been in a monogamous relationship for five years and recently the couple was moved by the images of the devastation left behind by hurricane Katrina.
Will: I went to donate blood, because I felt like I needed to do something for the hurricane victims.
But before will could even roll up his sleeves, he was told his blood was unwanted. The reason - it wasn't because he was sick or had visited a third world country. Instead, it was because he honestly answered the blood center's survey.
Will: They gave me a questionnaire to fill out and one of the questions was have you ever had sex with a man since 1977. Of course I answered yes.
And with that, Will was told it's perfectly acceptable to be an openly gay man, just not a gay blood donor.
Will: I was turned down because I was gay. I was told that was why I could not donate blood.
For Will, it makes no sense. He feels in this time of need, his blood should be tested before it's turned down. Not to mention, all men and women - regardless of sexual preference - pose a risk. Now, Will says denying his donation is just wrong.
Will: I was in shock more than anything. I just couldn't believe it.
Employees at South Florida's blood centers say Will's not the only one complaining.
Will: A couple of calls from people, particularly those that are in monogamous homosexual relationships, questioning the policy.
But the decision to prohibit only gay men - not gay women - from giving blood comes from the federal government not local blood centers. The food and drug administration has banned gay men from donating since 1983, during the height of the Aids scare.
Will: I know this particular policy has been reviewed in recent years, and there's a push to review it again.
You can count will as one of the people hoping to revise the rule.
Will: It's outdated. I really feel the FDA needs to revisit this law and join us in the new millennium.
Especially in a day and age where there are constant shortages of blood. Will believes it's time to recognize gay men as an untapped resource.
Will: A high population of homosexuals wants to donate blood are safe and monogamous.