CHICAGO (CBS) — With coronavirus cases still on the rise, blood donation banks are in desperate need of help.
That is why members of the LGBTQ community are applauding a new push in Congress to change the rules about blood donation from gay men.
Right now, the federal government says gay men may only donate blood if they have not been sexually active for three months. From 1983 until 2015, there was a total ban on gay men donating blood.
New legislation would change the screening process to focus on individual behavior rather than simply sexual orientation.
Advocates like ER doctor Dillon Barron and his partner, Eric Seelbach, said it is a long overdue change that will save lives.
“Now here’s an opportunity where we can change things so that, you know, not only homophobia is changed, but so that we can also be changing the lives of other people; so that we can be helping others, and you know, literally saving the mothers, sisters, brothers, children, best friends of people around the country,” Barron said.
Barron and his partner both contracted COVID-19 and wanted to donate their antibody-rich plasma, but were denied. They talked with CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey about their ordeal back in June.
The proposed rule change was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois).