Today, on World Blood Donor Day, gay and bisexual men are still ineligible to donate blood if they have had sex with another man in the past year. The ban is clearly rooted in stigma and homophobia rather than research and facts.
Even though the MSM population has a higher prevalence of HIV, it's not being gay or bisexual that causes HIV acquisition. It's sexual risk, and that's what the Red Cross should be screening — not sexual orientation. Besides, all blood drawn is screened for HIV. While there can be false negatives; only one in two million donations might carry HIV and transmit HIV if given to a patient. The likelihood that you'll acquire HIV from a blood transfusion is lower than your risk of getting killed by lightning.
Mother in New York is protesting the gay blood ban with the launch of their “Blood is Blood” shirt made from the blood of gay men who have sex with men. "Blood Is Blood" addresses the inconsistent support shown toward the LGBTQ community through the discrimination of blood donation based on sexual orientation. Many countries, like the U.S., endorse the fight for equality in marriage, schools, the workplace and housing, yet discriminatory criteria for blood donation remain. Using the blood of their gay male employees, Mother plans to bring attention to this hypocrisy, sparking a national conversation to inspire reform.
Head over here to purchase the shirt!