Twenty-two-year-old Aaron Pace was trying to donate blood and plasma at a local blood center in Gary, Indiana, when he was informed in an interview during the screening process that he was ineligible to give blood because he “appears to be a homosexual”.
Because of a 1983 measure adopted by the Food and Drug Administration, all men who have had sex with another man since 1977 are banned from giving blood. Workers at Bio-Blood Components, Incorporated assumed that Pace was gay, apparently based on his “looks, character, and behavior”.
Pace, who is not gay, is understandably miffed. He says he was “humiliated and embarrassed”. He also says, “It’s not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can’t. And I’m not even a homosexual.”
The FDA law came about as a result of fears about HIV and the fact that no test existed in 1983 to screen donated blood for the presence of the virus. Now all donated blood is tested for HIV as well as Hepatitis A, B, and C. Still, the law remains in place, in spite of the fact that most places in the United States are facing critical blood shortages.
Bio-Blood, Incorporated has declined to comment on the matter.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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