Following the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, hundreds of Nevada residents were lining up at blood banks desperately wanting to help the over 500 people injured in Sunday night’s attack — including Lance Bass.
But he can’t. There was a law instated back in the 1980’s during the AIDS epidemic that states any man who sleeps with another man is not allowed to donate blood unless they abstain from sex for at least one year from their last sexual encounter. Lance took to Twitter to express his frustration.
How is it STILL illegal for gays to donate blood??!! I want to donate and I'm not allowed. ????
— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) October 3, 2017
Many in the LGBTQ+ community constantly express frustration with this law, feeling that it is outdated and based on misinformation and discrimination. Men across the LGBTQ spectrum are also expressing their frustration alongside Bass who want to help the victims in Las Vegas.
It is 2017.
We've had multiple humanitarian crises and mass shootings.
And gay folks still cannot immediately donate blood.
It is 2017. https://t.co/RC5LDTxI3r
— Mario (@mtehuitz) October 3, 2017
It infuriates me that gay & bisexual men can be turned away from donating blood in Las Vegas because of the @US_FDA's discriminatory policy.
— Shane Bitney Crone (@ShaneBitney) October 2, 2017
That awkward moment you want to donate blood to victims in Vegas, but remember you can’t because you’re gay….
— Nick Silva (@NICKBSILVA) October 2, 2017
rly wish i could donate my gay blood
— elijah daniel (@elijahdaniel) October 2, 2017
In the 1980’s the FDA believed that gay men had the highest risk of contracting HIV, and originally installed the law as a lifetime ban on gay men from donating blood. The law was updated in 2015 when the FDA revised its rules implementing the one-year abstinence policy. The American Red Cross agrees with the one-year policy, stating that although testing for HIV “has greatly improved, it is not 100 percent effective at detecting infectious diseases in donors with very early infection.” The Red Cross added that the 12-month period provides “adequate time for the detection of infected individuals.”
Women who sleep with women are eligible to donate but maybe deferred on a circumstantial basis. The law also states that any woman who has had sexual relations with a man who has slept with a man in the last year is not eligible to donate. For transgender men and women, the law gets tricky. Any transgender man, previously eligible to donate as a woman, who has slept with another man in the last year is no longer eligible to donate. Transgender women who sleep with men may be permitted to donate blood so long they meet other blood donation requirements.