How gay blood donations could help save lives

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The lives of more than 1.8 million people could be saved if the federal government lifted its ban on blood donations from gay men, a move that would bring in tens of thousands of new donors and more than 615,000 pints of blood, a new study says.

Gay think tank the Williams Institute – the same folks that tell us the millions of dollars gay marriage would bring to states including Georgia and Texas, why lesbians are good parents and that some doctors and dentists discriminate against people with HIV – turned its researchers on the decades-old FDA ban that prohibits blood donations by men who have had sex with men at any time since 1977. What they found if the ban was overturned – even in limited fashion – is startling:

If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past twelve months were permitted to donate, the report estimates that 185,800 additional men are likely to donate 317,000 additional pints of blood each year. If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past five years were permitted to donate, it is estimated that 172,000 additional men would make an additional 293,400 blood donations.

Completely dropping the ban would bring in 360,600 men likely to donate 615,300 pints of blood every year, boosting the blood supply by up to four percent, according to the new study, Effects of Lifting Blood Donation Bans on Men who Have Sex with Men.

“The American Red Cross suggests that each blood donation has the potential to be used in life-saving procedures on three individuals. Our estimates suggest that lifting the blood donation ban among MSM could be used to help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people,” Ayako Miyashita, a policy fellow at the Williams Institute, says in a prepared statement.

The National Gay Blood Drive called attention to the discriminatory ban with events across the country in early July, including ones in Atlanta and Houston, which was attended by Mayor Annise Parker.

Yet, some gays still aren't familiar with the gay ban. Sexy gay actor, underwear model and reality TV hunk Rodiney Santiago posted a photo to Instagram when he donated blood recently and called on others to do so. That post ignited an avalanche of comments as gay fans pointed out to Santiago that gay men are prohibited from donating.



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