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Gay Men Banned From Donating Blood After Orlando Gay Club Massacre

© REUTERS / Steve NesiusHundreds of community members line up outside a clinic to donate blood after an early morning shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016
Hundreds of community members line up outside a clinic to donate blood after an early morning shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Gay men aren't allowed to donate blood to support the Orlando shooting victims due to restrictive US laws.

Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The law is a holdover from the time of the AIDS epidemic. At its height, men who have sex with men (MSM) were banned from donating blood in 1983 as gay men were widely perceived to be one of the greatest risk groups and no screening tests existed for showing contaminated blood.

Following the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 50 people dead and over 53 injured, there has been an urgent need for blood donations.

People took to social media to express anger over the federal government's ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

They called the ban a “cruel irony” with some saying that it is “absurd” and “discriminatory.”

​On Monday, rumors circulated online that OneBlood, a nonprofit blood donation clinic in Orlando, had lifted the ban.

However, according to OneBlood, this isn’t true.

​Last year, the FDA softened its rules, permitting gay men who have abstained from gay sex for 12 months to give blood. Earlier, it had been a lifetime ban.

In practice, this ban is expected to keep away most sexually-active gay men and in fact OneBlood and other Orlando clinics said they still hadn’t adopted protocols to conform with the new FDA rule.

The one-year deferral period puts the US on a par with the UK, which adopted a similar protocol five years ago. In turn, Germany still has a ban on MSM blood donors, whereas, Canada requires them to wait five years from their last time of intercourse before donating blood.

There is no deferral period in countries, such as Russia, Spain, Italy and much of South America.

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