Protest to lift blood donation ban for gay men - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Protest to lift blood donation ban for gay men

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Opponents of a federal ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men are demonstrating at a St. Paul blood bank.

Organizer Zachary Fincher says about 20 to 40 men will try to donate blood at the Memorial Blood Centers' St. Paul location Friday. The Minnesota AIDS Project is providing on-site HIV tests.

The goal is to show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration how much donor blood could be added to the nation's supply if gay and bisexual men could donate. That population faces an indefinite or lifetime deferral on blood donations.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/133rYNt ) says blood banks have urged the FDA to amend its criteria for blood donations. The FDA says its policy is "based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex."

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