The mayor of a city in the Bay Area was asked to help organize a blood drive, but wasn’t allowed to donate because he is openly gay.
Evan Low and Rich Waterman, Campbell’s mayor and vice mayor, tried to donate blood on Wednesday at a Red Cross Blood Drive, but they were rejected.
Low said that is was discriminatory to prohibit gay donors because there is the perception that they have a higher risk for HIV and heterosexual donors carry the same risks. The mayor believes the focus should be on proper blood testing.
“We are in 2013 and we use science to determine the criteria for tainted blood,” said Low. It's very important that we look at behavior and using science instead of a discriminatory policy.”
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The Red Cross was following the national policies set by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. The FDA has been deferring gay blood donors since 1983 on the basis of increased risk of HIV.
The FDA claims that testing blood samples is not completely foolproof, KTVU reported.
“It's not 100 percent, cause if someone is infected with HIV there is an early 10-11 day window period when it does not show up in the testing,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Jared Schultzman.
Low recognizes that this is a chance to call attention to the situation.
"I want to support the community with blood donations, but I will not tolerate organizations discriminating against any group of people," he said. "My inclination is to support and host the blood drive, but use this as an opportunity to highlight the issue."