Orlando Blood Center Has Not Lifted Ban on Blood Donations From Gay Men [UPDATED]
According to reports on social media and a city official speaking on MSNBC, OneBlood, a local blood center in Orlando, temporarily lifted the ban on sexually-active gay men donating blood following the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Those reports are false.
All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation. There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.— OneBlood (@my1blood) June 12, 2016
Men who have had sex with other men within the past year are banned by the FDA from donating blood. Gawker wasn’t able to reach OneBlood or the FDA to verify the earlier, erroneous reports. The blood center posted on Facebook:
Please share! There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues. All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you please visit OneBlood.org or call 1.888.9.DONATE (1.888.936.6283)
OneBlood’s website crashed temporarily on Sunday morning. This was its most detailed statement on the shooting as of noon:
There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues.
All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you click here.
City commissioner Patty Sheehan of Orlando’s fourth district said on MSNBC this morning that she “understands” that OneBlood is accepting donations from gay men.
The Council on American-Muslim Relations has encouraged Muslims in the Orlando community to donate blood.
According to Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, the White House has lifted HIPAA restrictions to allow hospital staff to communicate with victims’ families.
Update – 1:03 pm
“All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation,” OneBlood wrote on Twitter. “There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.”
Update – 1:29 pm
Not only has the FDA’s ban on donations from gay men not been lifted at OneBlood, the Washington Post reports that OneBlood’s system has not even been updated with the FDA’s revisions to its guidelines, per spokesman Pat Michaels.
While many people sharing the call on social media have reported that OneBlood is allowing all men who have sex with men to donate — going against Food and Drug Administration guidelines — Michaels said that’s not true. He said OneBlood is continuing to adhere to the longstanding federal restriction on gay men from donating blood. Although the Food and Drug Administration recently updated its guidelines to allow men who have not had sex with another man within a year’s time to donate blood, Michaels said OneBlood’s system hasn’t been updated to allow that just yet, but it will happen later this year.
Michaels asked people with O-negative, O-positive and AB plasma blood to donate immediately; people with other types should wait. “We have hundreds of people showing up to our locations,” he said. “We understand the sentiment that people want to help and that giving blood is a profound way to help but we are asking those who have other blood types to give us some space for now.”