Laughing, dancing and music—all in appreciation of self-identity and coming out. It’s the Philly Gay Pride Parade. All kinds of people, whether gay or not, flock to Center City Washington Square West to get a taste of the fun and the love spread all around.
But with the celebration, comes a looming feeling the community cannot ignore. Just the day before, The Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA) voted to continue banning gay men from donating blood. The ban was originally enacted in 1977, when AIDS was thought to only infect gay men, which has now been proven to be false.
The Williams Institute of the University of California’s School of Law recently published a report saying lifting the ban would likely increase the blood supply to over 200,000 additional pints per year.
“From what I understand they could easily tell hepatitis or AIDS or anything that’s present in the blood. So if we can test for all the communicable diseases, why would you single out any group for any reason? Especially for people who are going to turn around and want to help,” said salon owner Anthony Parisio.
The American Red Cross made a similar argument. In a recent release from redcross.org it states “disappointment” in the ACBSA. In addition, it “strongly support the use of rational, scientifically based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among donors who engage in similar risk activities.”
Despite opposition by the American Red Cross, it must abide by the federal regulations set forth by the FDA. The FDA will make the final decision in the near future.