PORTLAND, Maine — More than 60 cities nationwide, including Portland, Maine, Washington, D.C. and others, took part in the National Gay Blood Drive on July 11.
Michael Quint, Portland’s drive leader, said the goal is to encourage the Food and Drug Administration to change its policy, which bans gay men from donating blood. The policy was enacted in 1983. Quint said it made sense at the time because no one knew how AIDS was contracted, WMTW 8, a regional ABC news affiliate, reports.
“I want to be able to give blood. I have O negative,” Quint was quoted as having said. Quint can’t donate because he is gay. He said now the policy is outdated, and it should be changed to allow all healthy people to donate, the WMTW report said.
“Gay and bisexual men are not giving blood today. People are coming on their behalf to donate for them because they’re prohibited,” Quint was quoted as having said.
In a statement, the American Red Cross said that it has to follow the FDA’s policies.