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U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Allow gay/bisexual men to donate blood.
  • Petitioning U.S. Food and Drug Administration

This petition will be delivered to:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Allow gay/bisexual men to donate blood.

    1. M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
    2. Petition by

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.

      Norman, OK

Why I started this petition:

As a gay man, I do not fit the stereotype of the promiscuous guy obsessed with sex. As a gay man, I am faced with a decision every day of my life to do what feels naturally in my relationship or still keep myself eligible to donate blood.  Even though in 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States eliminated the sodomy laws in Lawrance v. Texas, the policy set out by the U.S. F.D.A. still criminalizes an act of love between two consenting adults because of the old fear that gay men are infected with HIV/AIDS.  I do not want to have to continue to choose between being able to donate blood over love.

 

Please visit our website to learn more about the project, data, statistics, and our efforts to change the policy at http://www.weallrequal.com.  In short ...

 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (source: A):

"Men who have had sex with other men, at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors."

 

Their main arguments are:

1) "Blood donor testing using current advanced technologies has greatly reduced the risk of HIV transmission but cannot yet detect all infected donors or prevent all transmission by transfusions.”

2) "Detection of HIV infection is particularly challenging when very low levels of virus are present in the blood for example during the so-called "window period". The "window period" is the time between being infected with HIV and the ability of an HIV test to detect HIV in an infected person."

 

However:

1) Heterosexuals with multiple partners are allowed to donate blood despite their increased risk for transmitting HIV and hepatitis.

2) The United Kingdom, which recently lifted its lifetime ban in September 2011, instead, allows gay men to donate blood provided that they have not had sex with another man for at least one year (source: B).  This is four times longer the amount of time necessary for HIV to reach detectable levels after infection (source: C).

 

The current ban affects all of us, not only gay men. It extends to those who have slept with a bisexual/gay man who has had sex with men, whether they are male or female. This ban has affected sperm donation policies among gay/bisexual men too, and even to organ donations policies.

 

Solution:

If the all-out ban on homosexuals/Bisexuals donating blood is reduced to only those who have had a promiscuous sexual contact with another man in the past year, the increased number of potential donors would increase and help the blood pool grow while still keeping the blood supply safe.  This petition would allow committed long-term monogamous men to donate blood.

Thus the new pre-screening question should be: Male donors: Have you had unprotected sexual contact with a new male partner in the past 12 months? (Females: check "I am female.")

Please sign this petition to urge the FDA to revise their outdated policies, by remove this excessive and unnecessary ban that prevents homosexuals/bisexuals from donating blood.  

References:

A) U.S. FDA, cited 2012: Questions about Blood & Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers. [Available online at http://www.fda.gov/] 

B) BBC News, cited 2012: Gay Man Donor Ban to be Lifted. [Avablable online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/] 

C) Avert, cited 2012: HIV Testing. [Available online at http://www.avert.org/testing.htm]  

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 12,500 signatures
    2. How the gay blood ban affects cancer patience

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer
      How the gay blood ban affects cancer patients

      Cancer is defined as any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. Currently, there are about 200 different types of cancer, which can affect 60 different organs in our body. Cancer does affect organs that take part in producing red blood cells, and thus may decrease the production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

    3. Student's petition to allow gay men to donate blood hits 12,000 signatures

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer
      Student's petition to allow gay men to donate blood hits 12,000 signatures

      Under current Food and Drug Administration guidelines, men who have had sex with another man once since 1977 cannot donate blood, which limits the pool of available donors. Since November 2012, when Hernandez lobbied for signatures on OU's campus, about 5,555 more people have signed.

    4. COLUMN: Obsolete rule prevents gay men from giving blood

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      Excerpt:
      "This is a form of inequality that fuels an unjustified hate towards gay men,” All R Equal founder Michael Hernandez said. “I have run into many people who think that if both men are HIV negative and have sex with each other, even if monogamous, God will strike them down with HIV. This makes no sense at all.”

      All R Equal is a non-profit organization geared towards petitioning to allow gay men to donate blood while promoting gender and LGBT equality.

      Obsolete rule prevents gay men from giving blood

      Micah Wormley Donating blood is considered to be an act of heroism, charity and selflessness. With OU hosting a blood drive this week in connection with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, it's important to be aware of a disconcerting issue associated with donating blood. According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S needs blood every two seconds.

    5. Reached 10,000 signatures
    6. OPED: It's time the US eased the ban on gay men giving blood

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      Gay Star News (3.29.2012)

      It's time the US eased the ban on gay men giving blood

      When was the last time you thought about being a superhero and saving a life? When I ask people, 'Who is an everyday superhero?' you might answer a firefighter, police officer, doctor, those in the military who serve our country. But we can all potentially be a superhero.

    7. Reached 9,000 signatures
    8. Presentation: Let's Remove the Gay Blood Ban

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      TEDxOU Talk: (1.25.2013) --> http://youtu.be/-pJnxIOjptU

      Let's Remove the Gay Blood Ban: Michael Hernandez at TEDxOU
      Michael Hernandez created an online movement, called All R Equal, Inc., which fights for equality for blood donors. Michael's petition on Change.org, has garnished nearly 8,000 signatures to allow men who sleep with men, even once, the right to donate blood, which currently hasn't been allowed since 1981.

    9. Reached 8,000 signatures
    10. Reached 7,000 signatures
    11. Front Page Article: OU Grad Student petitioning FDA ...

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      An article where I was interview based on this petition (11.14.2012)

      OUDaily.com | OU graduate student petitioning FDA to permit gay men to donate blood, backed by student groups

      OU graduate student petitioning FDA to permit gay men to donate blood, backed by student groups When one Sooner came out as a gay man almost a year ago, he found out some disheartening news - he couldn't donate blood ever again during his lifetime if he had sex with another man.

    12. ED: Baseless blood donor restrictions risk lives

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      This OPED came out from the University of Oklahoma dealing with the blood donor drive to help make up the deficit of blood donations caused by this ban, while at the same time talking about this petition. (11.13.2012)

      OUDaily.com | EDITORIAL: Baseless blood donor restrictions risk lives

      Our View: Blood donation eligibility should be based on health, not identity. If you've ever wanted to donate blood but didn't, it was probably because you dislike needles or happened to be sick at the time. But a certain group of Americans cannot donate blood even if they choose to - and it's not because of a health problem or a phobia.

    13. Op-ed: Gay Blood Donation Boycots Can Also Be Dangerous

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      HIV Plus Magazine (10.9.2012)

      Op-ed: Gay Blood Donation Boycotts Can Also Be Dangerous

      The choices we make are not always easy. For a gay man like myself, the choice between expressing our love physically and remaining eligible blood donors can be among the most difficult. However, not all are even aware that they are making this choice until they are donating blood at work to save a loved one's life.

    14. Reached 6,000 signatures
    15. Let2Ed: Change blood donation rules for men who have sex with men

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (9.26.2012)

      LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Change blood donation rules for men who have sex with men

      Michael Hernandez September 26th, 2012 It is well known that 20% of gay men are HIV-positive and that 25% of HIV-positive people are unaware of their positive status. This means that roughly 5% of gay men are HIV-positive and they don't even know it.

    16. 5000 signatures, but we still need your help!

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      Unfortunately, this ban on has caused the following protests across the nation’s universities in the past decade:

      Jan. 2006: University of Vermont turned down a request of a student to ban blood drives on campus.
      Mar. 2007: Iowa State University student organizations withdraw from their schools annual blood drive and 500 pints of blood were lost as a result of this.
      Jan. 2008: San Jose State University officially and publically stopped sponsoring blood drives. The Stanford Blood Center responded to this protest and stated that blood centers nationwide now routinely use two different tests for HIV detection.
      Jun. 2008: Sonoma State University faculty senate was unsuccessful from banning blood drives at the school.
      Oct. 2011: CUNY had been thinking of remove blood drive off campus while still promoting them, though this may still affect the overall amount that gets donated in the end.

      Maintaining this ban keeps blood supplies low, but protesting is doing harm than good.

    17. Reached 5,000 signatures
    18. Reached 4,000 signatures
    19. 2500+ signatures! Please keep forwarding this petition.

      M. Hernández, All R Equal, Inc.
      Petition Organizer

      The U.S. FDA has a survey in order to donate blood and they allow heterosexual people to donate blood even if they came in sexual contact in the past year with someone who has HIV/AIDS. The U.S. FDA justifies this by stating, “Also, blood donations are now tested for seven different infectious agents.” (source: A)

      In 2003 scientists assert “if such [gay men] donors were included in the pool, the mean risk increment for a random donation would be in the order of 1 in 11 million… the incremental risk would be very low, although not zero.” They also state that there are “parameters that were more difficult to estimate... we usually assumed a worst-case scenario.” (source: B)

      References:
      A) http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/ApprovedProducts/LicensedProductsBLAs/BloodDonorScreening/
      B) Germain, M., Remis, R.S., and Delage, G. The risks and benefits of accepting men who have had sex with men as blood donors. Transfusion 2003; 43:25-33.

    20. Reached 3,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Miranda Bennett BRAMPTON, CANADA
      • 1 day ago

      Stop this 1980s bigoted ban and just test all blood!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aisha Abbassi ITHACA, NY
      • 3 days ago

      My friends and family have the right to save lives via a blood donation, no matter who they love or choose to engage in sexual acts with.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eric Kelly JEFFERSON, OH
      • 3 days ago

      Because this law is bigoted, rooted in fear AND ignorance, and I want it reversed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dustin Pressley ARLINGTON, TX
      • 15 days ago

      Because I would like to help the world by giving blood to those who need it! Just because i am Bisexual i cannot, the hell?!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tristan Pike RAPID CITY, SD
      • 16 days ago

      I live this life, and it's not fair for me not to be able to help save people's lives if they need it, and with how badly I wish to do so.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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