Gay Blood Donors Still Not Allowed to Donate in Orlando After Attack

June 12th 2016

Aron Macarow

Despite a heavily circulated rumor suggesting otherwise, the Food and Drug Administration's ban on sexually active gay men donating blood remains in place, even in the wake of a shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando that has so far killed 50 people and injured 53 more.

The FDA has banned donations of blood from gay and bisexual men for 32-years over fears of HIV contamination, only shifting policy last year to partially lift the ban.

Early reports on social media, as well as statements reportedly made by Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan to MSNBC, erroneously suggested that Florida blood bank OneBlood had temporarily lifted the restrictions Sunday against gay blood donation in response to the deadly mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.

Those reports have proven false.

Despite early suggestion that OneBlood was taking donations from sexually-active gay and bisexual men, the blood bank confirmed on Twitter that the partial ban against gay blood donation is still in place, saying that reports were "not true."

The current FDA rules for blood donation allow gay and bisexual men to give blood, but only after being celibate for one full year prior to donation. The regulation change occurred in December 2015, and at the time, the FDA said that the shift reflected the "most current scientific evidence" about ways to keep the blood supply safe. Meanwhile, many still argue that any ban on gay blood donation is scientifically unsound and point to the fact that the practice has ended in other countries.

Twitter reacted to the news, crying foul over a situation that leaves many in the LGBT community unable to help friends and loved ones at a time when the blood bank describes the need as "urgent."