National Gay Blood Drive Held In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa-A unique blood drive took place to help raise awareness against a 30 year old ban.

Tony Tyler is supporting his friends today as they give blood at LifeServe in Des Moines.

He would be right alongside them, but because Tyler is a gay man he is prevented from donating blood.

“I gave blood when I was in high school, I would still be giving blood if I could but the policies of the FDA it doesn’t allow it to happen,” says Tyler of Des Moines.

The FDA ban dates back to 1983, saying men who have had sex with other men are at an increased risk for HIV, Hepatitis B and other infections.

“It`s 2014, we have medical technology to test for things, they test for all sort of things in blood why can`t they do this as well, it just doesn`t make any sense to me at all,” says Tyler.

The group, Project H.I.M. (Healthy Iowa Men), participated in the National Gay Blood Drive, helping educate the public about a ban they say is discriminatory.

“We’ve come a long way in the past 30 years, we`re to the point that testing is very sophisticated. There is standard tests that are run on all of the blood and now it`s just a discriminatory ban that keeps all gay and bi men from being able to donate blood and we`re trying to raise awareness about that,” says Greg Gross with Primary Health Care.

Gross said gay men were encouraged to bring in an ally or friend to donate on their behalf.

Lysa Mozak of Johnston came to support Tyler.

“I think it`s a really great way to have a positive social justice message be out in the community and hopefully change some regulations,” says Mozak.

Everyone who showed up, signed a national petition to end the ban, and wrote personal letters to the FDA.

Tyler is hoping all of that will be enough to give equality to everyone who wants to donate.

“If I would have been able to give blood today three lives could have been saved with that, for them to know that and be able to see that, it`s huge,” says Tyler.

60 other cities around the U.S. took part in similar blood drives today.

At the end of the month a White House Petition from everyone will be turned in to the FDA. The group needs at least 100,000 signatures to get a response back.

Last year the American Medical Association voted the ban should be lifted because of the new techniques available to detect HIV in donated blood.

17 comments

  • Justice

    If gays want to donate blood that is ok with me. However, it should only go to other gays. It should not go in to the bank with non-gay people.

  • Kyra

    Testing isn’t that sophisticated. My blood reacted to a Hepatitis C test. So, I’m banned from donating blood for the rest of my life even though I do not have Hep C. (I went to the doctor for a test just to be sure.)

    • Shelby

      That’s a false positive and periodically they do reentry testing for people who have had that happen. Keep checking back with them and also make sure they have your updated address on file, if they do offer reentry you will probably be notified by mail. Good luck!

  • Justice

    If gays want to donate, that is ok with me. However that blood should only be offered to other gays. Sorry to say, when my daughter had leukemia, I felt assured that gays were not allowed to give blood to her.

  • Min

    It all gets soooo confusing. LGBTs march for equal rights (aka as special rights because they are LGB or T) and insist on pushing their sexual orientation in others’ faces, but when they are singled out or separated for blood donation, that no longer applies. I don’t give a rip what your sexual preference is, just keep it to yourself. As for the blood donating, that also applies.

    • Justice

      John, I wouldn’t either. And since my daughter is a 17 year survivor of leukemia…and yes, she received a LOT of units of blood (and I thank every healthy person for donating). I was content since I knew that gays were not allowed to donate. And now she has survived and has had 3 healthy babies…and frankly she never contracted aids. What a relief. Do we want to change the regulations? I think not.

      • jase2007

        Such ignorance coming from these comments… I am disgusted! U think that there aren’t some gays like me that donate blood and plasma to save lives and don’t tell anyone that I am gay? I don’t have HIV and no one will get HIV/AIDS by receiving my donation.

  • Jan Markelsette

    That is not ignorance, it is being cautious and worried for good reason, especially since you freely admit that you and other gay people donate blood without revealing the fact that you are gay. Do you test for HIV every time before you donate? Please, do the rest of us a favor and just donate to other gay people. You can call us anything you want, but you increase the risk for others, so keep it amongst yourselves.

    • jase2007

      Yes I am in a monogamous relationship but I still get tested every 6 months. Getting blood from a gay person who does not have HIV is just like getting blood from someone else. They aren’t going to mark the blood and you aren’t going to know if the blood you are getting is from a gay strait or bi person. You know why? Because it’s all been tested for all communicable diseases and is free from any infection. And just an FYI if someone has HIV or hepatitis or other disease, they don’t give them blood with that disease. There is no “gay” or “strait” blood it’s just blood.

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