Tuesday, February 14, 2006

College students protest FDA ban on gay blood.

The Stanford Daily reported today:

Protestors demonstrating against the FDA policy that bars gay men from donating blood held signs and rallied in front of the blood drive van at noon in White Plaza yesterday.
The policy in question dates back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. According to the American Red Cross, a male who has had sexual contact with another male since 1977, or anyone who has had sexual contact with anyone meeting the prior description, is prohibited from donating blood.

Demonstrators said their aim was not to protest blood donation itself, but rather to spread word of a rule that makes “second-class citizens” out of people who “want to go help someone else.”

“Our main goal was not to disrupt the blood drive,” said Bharat Venkat, a junior.

While gay men were the largest demographic of HIV/AIDS victims when the regulation was enacted in 1983, that is no longer the case, Venkat said.

“The problem with that rule is that the largest population with HIV/AIDS is people of color,” he added. “It’s hypocritical and doesn’t make sense with the current context.”

The demonstration was peaceful, and workers at the blood drive were generally sympathetic. According to Venkat, “a lot of people were shocked and didn’t know this was going on.”


Dewayne said...

I did not know gay men could not give blood. Wow. what a revelation. Thanks for sharing

Houston said...

And there are no bath houses in San Francisco!

While I think the blood bank's rule is pretty stupid, its blatant discrimination against Gay men has to take a number and wait it's turn for me to feel any inconvenience, much less outrage.


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