Man rejected at blood bank because he seemed "gay"

Katherine - posted on 07/18/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )




An Indiana man says a blood donation center rejected him as a donor because he appears to be gay--even though he isn't.

Aaron Pace, 22, recently visited Bio-Blood Components Inc., in Gary, which pays up to $40 for blood and plasma donations. But during the interview process, he said, he was told he couldn't give blood because he seems gay.

Though Pace is "admittedly and noticeably effeminate," according to the Chicago Sun-Times, he says he's straight.

"It's not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can't," Pace told the paper. "And I'm not even a homosexual."

Even though the blood bank sounds like it is engaging in a discriminatory practice, it would only be following the law by rejecting Pace were he gay. In 1983, amid the early panic over AIDS, the Food and Drug Administration banned all men who had had sex with other men since 1977 from giving blood. At that time, there were no effective screening tests to identify HIV-positive blood.

Nowadays, all donated blood is tested for HIV and other infectious diseases before being given to hospitals. And a recent study found that the gay ban costs hospitals 219,000 pints of blood each year.

And yet, last year, the Department of Health and Human Services decided to maintain the policy--though an FDA committee called it "sub-optimal," and suggested that it would be better to develop a screening system based on individual behavior, not broad characteristics like sexuality.

Curt Ellis, the former director of The Aliveness Project of Northwest Indiana, an HIV education group, called the ban "unfair, outrageous and just plain stupid."

As for Pace, he's still mad about being rejected. "I was humiliated and embarrassed," he said. And just to be clear: He's not gay--not that there's anything wrong with it.

WTF is this world coming to? Could they REALLY have said that?


Teresa - posted on 07/19/2011




When you give blood they screen you by asking questions about your sexual practices and if you have been out of the country, gotten tats recently, on meds etc. All these things are to eliminate risks to the recipients of the blood. If a gay man admits to having sex with a man he will be summarily rejected because it is a risky behavior known to transmit HIV which causes AIDS. Nobody wants to risk HIV in the blood supply. That I understand. I know they test the blood anyway, because people lie but it is my bet that they don't trust their tests 100%. I know I don't.

So.....was it really because he seemed gay or because he answered a question that made him a risky donor? I mean he may have experimented with a male partner but not considered himself gay. Or perhaps he is bi-sexual so the homosexual label doesn't fit and YES, I do believe homosexuals should not donate blood. The risk is just too high. It could cost MANY people their lives if the donor has HIV.

OMG that last line of the article posted above gave me a flash back of the Seinfeld episode, Not that there's anything wrong with

Mary - posted on 07/19/2011




I do understand the how and why the policy was first put into effect back in 1983. At a time when there was no effective screening process, and so much about AIDS was unknown, it did make sense. Was it discriminatory? Absolutely, but it was a desperate, scary time, when getting a blood transfusion that was critically needed could equate to contracting either AIDS or Hepatitis. It was the only way they knew to try to make transfusions safer.

TBH, I didn't realize that this ban was still in place. I stupidly just assumed that once they found an effective means of testing donors and their blood products, as well as realizing that HIV and Hep C were not restricted to promiscuous homosexuals, they would have rescinded the ban. As it stands, it is not only discriminatory, but it serves absolutely no purpose. It's as effective as arbitrarily preventing people with blue eyes, or those with the letter E in their name from donating.

However, as long as those fuckwits in the Department of Health and Human Services refuse to lift the ban, blood banks across the nation are, from a liability standpoint, required to uphold it. I think we can all agree it is pointless. Afterall, when it comes to your sexual practices and preferences, all they have to go on is your say-so, or the random employee's impression of your appearance and mannerisms. That's not exactly a reliable means of determining a donor's risk factors for carrying a blood borne disease.

Katherine - posted on 07/19/2011




The thing is is that they screen the blood anyways. For ANYONE. So what the hell difference does it make?!

Stifler's - posted on 07/18/2011




RUDE. This is outrageous. How are gays even more likely to have AIDS than any straight man or woman in this day and age. People need to get an education.

Lady Heather - posted on 07/18/2011




Eh??? He seemed gay? Wow. You know, this guy my husband works with thought he was gay. Yeah, I have no idea why. It's the office joke now. But if that guy worked at the blood bank then my totally straight, excessively low risk, only slept with one person in his life husband wouldn't be able to donate.

What a load of crap. I'd take gay blood if I needed it anyways. The whole thing is so lame.


View replies by

Stifler's - posted on 07/19/2011




I agree there is a questionnaire which asks whether you've been overseas, got a tattoo, needlestick injury etc. I've been rejected from donating for having a needlestick injury. Did they actually say " you seem gay... no donating today"???

Lady Heather - posted on 07/19/2011




Sex in general is the risky behaviour that is known to spread HIV. Gay sex isn't special in that regard. And considering how much HIV is advancing in a lot of other groups of people, homosexuals probably shouldn't have all the focus on them. As I've said in another similar thread - the population here with the fastest growing HIV rate is our aboriginal population. Just imagine if they said no more people of a particular race could donate. Imagine the uproar. It would NEVER happen. But it is equally "justifiable" as banning gay donors.

JuLeah - posted on 07/18/2011




Yah, he's lucky someone didn't follow him to his car and beat the shit out of him. He is lucky he has not faced such as this before, if he 'seems gay' -

Mrs. - posted on 07/18/2011




This is not news to me. My brother and his husband have a major hate on for the blood donation centres. They both went in when they were younger men and in long term committed relationships with men...then were shocked to find out they wouldn't take it because they were gay.

Frankly, I find it gross. I find the policy barfy, period.

I totally understand that they won't take my blood because I've had surgeries, take meds, have had piercings and blood products.

However, if I was just a total slut who happens to get married - they are all over my blood. If my brother is married to my husband and hasn't fucked anyone but him for 7 years....I'd rather my daughter get his blood, thank you very much!

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