Gay Blood Drive - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Gay Blood Drive

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BILLINGS - United Blood Services hosts its first ever Gay Blood Drive on Friday morning from 9 AM - 12 PM in Billings. Since 1983, the Federal Drug Administration has banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood.

The FDA's website reads, "Men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion."

To bring attention to the ban, more than 60 cities, including Billings, will participate in the blood drive. Gay and bisexual men can bring an ally to UBS to donate blood in their place.

Ryan Doll, one of the event's organizers, says the event shows that gay men want to donate blood, and save lives.

"We have a number of people coming in and donating," he said. "Even if you can't donate, come in, take a picture, sign the petition, so we can send it to the White House."

The petition needs 100,000 signatures -- nationwide -- for an official White House response on revisiting the ban.

Carrie Rigney, UBS Senior Donor Recruitment Representative, says the ban is outdated, and should be looked at more closely.

"We are supporting the gay blood drive," she said. "I myself feel that it's important that we allow these men to donate blood. I feel that the ban was necessary back in the day, but now it's not, I think it needs to be re-looked at."

United Blood Services tests all donated blood for many diseases, including HIV and AIDS.

The blood drive is from 9 AM - 2 PM on Friday. Donors get a free t-shirt and a free nametag to write their reason for donating.

To make an appointment, please call 248-9168





    


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