TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The American Red Cross says its inventory is at crisis levels. The group says doctors are obligated to decide which patients receive blood transfusions. This has led to a call to change the directions of some donors.
According to the FDA, gay and bisexual men must abstain from sex for 3 months before they can donate blood. Before 2020, they had to wait a whole year. Many are calling for these restrictions to be removed.
William Edwards came out as gay when he was 17. He wants to be able to give back to his community by donating blood. But, it won’t under current FDA policy.
“It makes me sad that we’re still culturally in a place where that’s something we have to worry about. Politics is prejudice and we don’t need to have it.”
The policy states that gay and bisexual men must abstain from sex for 3 months before they can donate blood. But he adds that the whole nation is in such dire need of blood that he and so many others could supply.
“It’s a shame because it’s something everyone should be able to do because it saves lives, so it’s a shame people weren’t allowed to do it.”
He says he thinks this policy stems from fear. Edwards adds that they’ve come so far for that stigma to be an issue.
“I think it’s particularly important because a lot of people have worked very hard and even given their lives to get us to a point where we know that gay and bisexual men should be able to donate blood without the fear that was associated with our blood in the past.”
He also says it’s not fair because “straight” people don’t have to follow any restrictions, only gay and bisexual men.
“Anyone of a different sexual orientation, primarily heterosexual people, can have sex of any kind, regardless of safe or unsafe sex practices, and walk through the door and donate blood.”
Places like the American Red Cross and Versiti Blood Center are all pushing for changes to this policy.