Now Is the Time to End Discrimination in Blood and Plasma Donation

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When I was a young man in the military 40 years ago, I used to donate blood regularly. Our blood type was stamped on our dog tags, making it super easy, either if you needed blood or wanted to donate blood.

When they first put the ban on gay men donating blood during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, it made some sense at the time. They had no effective way to test the blood supply for HIV, and donated blood became one of the vectors for transmission. But they've been able to screen donated blood for HIV for decades now, and the ban has long ago lost any legitimacy.

Because of the ban, I haven't donated blood since the late 1980s. I wasn't willing to be celibate for a year to donate blood when they changed the rule a couple years ago. I'm not willing to be celibate for 3 months to donate blood now. It's a senseless restriction, not based on any scientific need. There is no legitimate need for the restriction at all. Get rid of it.