Blood Donor Turned Down For "Looking Gay"
Pace, 22, pictured above, visited Bio Blood Components, Inc. of Gary to donate blood, and was told he could not because a worker determined that Pace “appears to be a homosexual.” Despite how he might act or sound, Pace says he is a straight man, and is upset at the turn-down at a clinic that reportedly pays $40 per donation.
Since 1986, blood collection centers have turned down, for life, male blood donors who have admitted during the required intake questionnaire that they have previously slept with another man since 1977. What’s important is that deferral of a potential donor is based on a would-be donor making a public statement of such behavior, not based an employee’s “gay-dar.”
It’s not known if Bio Blood Components will be deferring Pace from blood donation for life based on their employee’s perceived heightened and almost psychic sense for one’s sexual preferences. Pace’s story was widely circulated at the Chicago Sun-Times, who attempted to reach the blood collection center to no avail. I’m sure Bio Blood Components will be getting a number of other calls soon...
Pace’s story brings to question, once again, the FDA’s program for deferring would-be blood donors. In 2006 and again last year, the Red Cross sought to change the lifetime ban for men who have had sex with other men to only one year, coupled with ongoing blood tests of donors. In both cases, this request was denied by the FDA, which demanded further data.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in five who have AIDS don’t even know it yet, and that 74% of all AIDS transmissions are between two men having sexual contact. The FDA states that although testing blood for HIV is extremely accurate, it’s not 100% so, with approximately 1 in a million donations possibly sneaking under the radar.Continued on the next page