Blood Donation Hub
Today GMHC is providing free, confidential HIV testing in front of the New York Blood Center in partnership with the National Gay Blood Drive, a nationwide demonstration against the lifetime ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently bans any man who had sex with another man (MSM), even once, since 1977 from being allowed to donate blood. For several years, GMHC has been leading advocacy and public education efforts requesting that the FDA lift the ban and screen all potential donors equally for high-risk behavior, regardless of sexual orientation.
"In June, the American Medical Association joined the American Association of Blood Banks, America's Blood Centers, and the Red Cross in calling the lifetime MSM blood ban discriminatory and unnecessary," said Jason Cianciotto, Director of Public Policy at GMHC. "Under the current policy, a heterosexual man who has sex with someone who is known to be HIV-positive is subject to a one-year deferral, while a gay or bisexual man who is HIV-negative and always practices safer sex is banned from donating blood for life. GMHC continues to urge the FDA to follow the lead of nations including France, Spain, and Italy that have adopted deferral policies based on comprehensive assessments, screening all prospective donors, regardless of sexual orientation, for high-risk practices."
As part of our advocacy to lift the ban, GMHC is partnering with the National Gay Blood Drive, a nationwide, peaceful demonstration that invites otherwise eligible gay or bisexual male donors to get tested at a specified donation center in their city and attempt to donate blood. As each donor is rejected, his HIV test result will be collected, compiled, and delivered to the FDA, visually conveying on a national level how much blood the gay community could contribute.
GMHC's mobile HIV testing van will be located in front of the New York Blood Center at 310 East 67th street from 8:00 am-2:15pm.
Ryan James Yezak, who you know from his super-viral clip in support of this forthcoming documentary, The Gay Rights Movement, has released another spectacularly edited montage of vintage news clips that weaves the narrative of the federal ban on blood donation by gay men into a larger picture of the LGBT civil rights struggle.
It's in support of a National Gay Blood Drive taking place tomorrow to draw attention to the issue.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
Ryan James Yezak, the filmmaker behind the in-progress documentary Second Class Citizens (remember 'The Gay Rights Movement' video?) is launching a national gay blood drive, a peaceful demonstration that he's going to capture for his documentary. Yezak writes:
The drive will take place nationally from 9am PST (which marks the demonstration’s “universal rallying point”) to 5pm PST that Friday and will consist of eligible gay and bisexual male donors, most commonly referred to as MSM donors, showing up to get tested at a specified donation center in their respective city and then attempting to donate their blood. As each donor is rejected, their test result will be collected, compiled, and delivered to the FDA – Visually conveying to them on a national level how much blood the gay community could contribute to the blood supply should they lift their current policy.
While it is anticipated that 1,000 rejected MSM donors will be exceeded – It’s also pertinent to note that on‐site mobile rapid HIV testing will be provided at each location for participants to confirm their statuses before attempting to donate.
Watch his video about the event, AFTER THE JUMP...
In his "Big Gay Roundup", Stephen Colbert expresses his dismay over the American Medical Association's push for an end to the ban on gays donating blood.
Says Colbert : "Letting gay people donate blood is an endorsement of the gay lifestyle. In fact, I'm pretty sure a gay blood transfusion is how you get gay. It's like being bitten by a radioactive spider - you get all the gay superpowers: super strength, web-slinging, and the desire to wear skin-tight spandex on Broadway."
Colbert also weighs in on the Disney Channel's introduction of a same-sex couple.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The American Medical Association voted on Tuesday to oppose the FDA ban on gay men donating blood, ABC News reports:
"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said 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 AMA recommends that the FDA change its policy so that gay men are evaluated on an individual level rather than being lumped together in a high-risk category, in addition to crafting a policy that more accurately represents scientific research.
Said Robert Valadez, policy analyst for the HIV/AIDS advocacy group Gay Men's Health Crisis: "The policy was formed at a time in our history when we didn't have a name for AIDS or HIV. Our technology has advanced to the point where … it is antiquated to keep this policy in place and to keep those units of blood from entering the blood supply."