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"Let Us Give" Blood Drive sponsored by INBA, Inland Northwest Blood Center, and SAN

“Let Us Give” Blood Drive July 18 – 24blood_drive_header_6

INBA is partnering with SAN and Inland Northwest Blood Center to host a week-long blood drive, with a special educational event midweek. The blood drive will be located at 210 W. Cataldo all week, with the special event from 4-6 on Wednesday, July 20th at the same location. The educational event will feature speakers to raise awareness about current policy, opportunities to advocate for policy change to end the ban, and information on how to register to give blood.

This blood drive is intended to raise awareness of the FDA restrictions on blood donations by gay and bi men (officially, men who have sex with men) for twelve months after their last sexual contact. In the wake of the mass-shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, local emergency centers and hospitals sent out an urgent call for blood donations to aid the wounded. Thousands of donors stepped up to the call, but many members of the LGBT community, including friends, loved ones, and even spouses of those directly affected were turned away.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy effectively bans most gay and bi men — any man who has had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months — from donating blood. Before December 2015 the policy was even stricter, completely banning men who had sex with other men, regardless of behavior risk. The FDA’s policy was first put in place in 1985 during the AIDS epidemic when little was known about the spread of the disease. According to current FDA regulations, all blood is tested for HIV and these tests can detect HIV within 21-84 days.

Criteria for blood donations should be based on risk factors such as intravenous drug use or unprotected sex with more than one partner and not on the sexual orientation of the person hoping to give blood. Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado) is leading the charge against current FDA policy, urging Americans to take action to change the policy by spreading the word.

“Right now we have the very bizarre and perverse situation that actually endangers our national blood supply, where if somebody happens to be straight but has had unprotected sex with multiple partners of the opposite sex, they’re allowed to donate,” Polis said. “But if somebody is gay and married and in a monogamous relationship they’re actually screened out.”

 

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