At a National Gay Blood Drive event in Durham, North Carolina, eligible donors showed up to take a stance against the ban at the offices of the Red Cross.
"The reason for the drive is to raise awareness on a ban that was put in place over 30 years ago by the FDA during the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and it bans specifically, gay and bisexual men from donating blood," explained Henry Amador with the LGBTQ Center of Durham.
Amador said the ban is antiquated.
"Blood is being tested differently now. We know now it's not just gay and bi men that can contract HIV and pass it on. Obviously, it's much larger than that," he said.
The national effort is also pushing for at least 100,000 signatures petitioning for a change of policy. The group held the blood drive by signing up eligible donors - with the support of the Red Cross.
They and two other organizations issued a joint statement - saying:
"The safety of volunteer blood donors and the ultimate recipients of blood is our top priority. Blood donation eligibility in the U.S. is determined by the FDA and all blood centers are required to follow the rules and regulations set by the agency."
But, they also say they believe the rules should be modified - saying:
"We strongly support the use of rational, science-based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among blood donors who engage in similar risk activities."
The National Gay Blood Drive signed up about 20 eligible donors in Durham. And while that number is small, they said they believe the drive was successful and they're hoping their petition will be successful.
Until there is zero risk of the blood supply being contaminated I think that the FDA rule should stand. Are these gay men putting their own selfish need to make constant strides above public safety in the name of public service? Or are they just oblivious to the risk? Until their is a cute for HIV and AIDS this rule should stand.