Gay man joins effort to end blood donation discrimination

One gay Redding man who has donated close to ten gallons of blood is preparing to be banned from donating.

Michael Vasquez is joining the nationwide effort to stand up to the regulation. The 28-year-old is going into the Redding BloodSource, where he has been donating blood for about a decade to tell them he has had sex with a man. Vasquez was about to reach a major donation milestone, 10 gallons. Now he will lose his opportunity to save lives once he reveals this information.

Since 1977 the Food and Drug Administration has banned donations from men who have had sex with other men, saying there is a risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Vasquez says these bans are unwarranted.

"Are these policies still accurate, and should we be alienating a certain group of individuals that could be potentially saving lives, just because of this factor," said Vasquez.

Vasquez says this ban is based on invalid stereotypes and needs to be updated.

"Particularly the gay community is seeing some huge changes and in order to progress and grow as a society it's important to look at those items and talk about them and make changes," said Vasquez.

Vasquez will go to the Redding BloodSource at 10:00 a.m. Friday. Activists across the country are organizing a gay blood drive on Friday to bring attention to the issue in hopes of getting the ban lifted.  The American Medical Association does not support the ban, claiming it is discriminatory and not based on sound science.

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