Activist: gay men should be able to donate blood

Posted at 3:29 PM, Dec 14, 2015

A Facebook movement pressuring the FDA to allow gay men to donate blood is catching on. Now, a local congressman is weighing in on the fight that is very personal for one western New Yorker.

Jordan Moll Vigrass has been diagnosed with stage three fatty liver disease.

"Knowing my chances are slim to none, being able to save three lives in one blood donation is more than satisfactory, it fills me with joy," Moll Vigrass said.

"I hope that when the time comes that I need a liver, that somebody will help. I'm trying to pay it forward."

However, Moll Vigrass has been told he cannot donate blood. He went to donate, but was turned away after stating that he was gay in a questionnaire.

Ever since 1983, during the height of the AIDS epidemic, gay and bisexual men have not been allowed to donate blood. The policy states that a man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is not cannot donate.

Others have joined in the movement, which Moll Vigrass has named "Blood is Blood."

"Every time I see a shortage, I think of the lost opportunities," said Matt Crehan Higgins with the PRIDE Center of WNY. "I am one of many, many lost opportunities."

According to the American Red Cross, more than 41,000 blood donations are needed everyday. While 38-percent of people in the U.S. are eligible to donate, only 10-percent do each year.

Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) has also jumped on board the movement, calling the policy "discrimination."

Any policy should be based on real, scientific evidence relative to the risk," Higgins stated.

The FDA has held hearings to look into changing the regulation. The FDA has drafted a new rule which would allow gay men to donate, if they have been abstinent for one year.

The FDA states it is still going over comments from hearings before making any official new policies.




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