For those of you in NYC, GMHC sends us this update:
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.