Grassroots group to hold "Gay Blood Drive" in Birmingham - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Grassroots group to hold "Gay Blood Drive" in Birmingham

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

Activists are hoping to end the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ban on blood donations from gay men.

Friday, they held the first "Gay Blood Drive" at 52 locations around the country, including one in Birmingham. The Magic City protest took place at the LifeSouth Community Blood Center at 396 West Oxmoor Road in Birmingham. It's planned to run from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday.

This is a symbolic blood drive, because gay and bisexual men are banned from donating blood. The FDA has refused blood from gay and bisexual men for nearly four decades. FDA officials say the ban is in place to lessen the chance of spreading diseases.

But organizers hope that the drive shows the FDA how many donors are available, but can't help.

During the blood drive, potential donors, who are confirmed HIV negative, will be asked to roll up their sleeves and give blood. But once the men identify as gay or bisexual, they will be denied the chance to donate. Organizers will then send documentation to the FDA showing exactly how many donors, and thus blood, were denied.

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