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Blood Bank Refuses Blood From Gay Men After Orlando Shooting

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

An Orlando, Fla., blood bank foundation is getting major backlash because it would not accept blood donated from gay men after a terror attack on a gay nightclub Sunday.

On Facebook and Twitter, OneBlood posted it was in severe need of O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donations.

One Blood Facebook Screenshot

OneBlood Facebook Screenshot

After OneBlood‘s call for more blood donations, a rumor began to circulate that gay men, previously banned under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restrictions, were allowed to donate blood to OneBlood. It was false, as OneBlood quickly posted on Facebook that “All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation. There are false reports circulating that some FDA rules were being lifted, and this is simply not true.The blood center is mandated to follow all guidelines for blood donation at all times.”

Pat Michaels, the spokesperson for OneBlood, told The Washington Post those rumors were false and OneBlood would continue to adhere to FDA guidelines on blood donations.

The FDA policy on blood donations, which was updated last year, states men who have had sex with another man must wait at least a year before donating blood. The previous policy had a lifelong ban on men who had sex with other men. The FDA says the year-long ban helps prevent the spread of HIV and is backed up by scientific evidence. OneBlood still adheres to the original lifelong ban, but will be updating its policy to reflect the FDA’s latest update later this year.

Opponents of the FDA blood donor policy say it continues to stigmatize those who are bisexual and homosexual. They also say a 30-day waiting period is more acceptable, as the virus can be detected soon after.

The National LGBTQ Task Forces is calling on the FDA to “stop discrimination against LGBTQ blood donors.”

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