Since 1977, or about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, homosexual men are not allowed to donate blood or organs.
Alexander “AJ” Betts was 16 years old when he attempted suicide and ended up on life support. According to CBS News, he chose to end his life after he was bullied by his classmates who outed him as a homosexual a year and a half prior to his attempted suicide. Betts caused irreversible damage and his family was told that he would not survive.
Prior to his suicide, the teenager had signed on to become an organ donor. Sheryl Moore, his mother, had removed him from life support with the hope that his tragic end would save other lives. Unfortunately, his son’s final wish was not granted. Since Betts was gay, he was not allowed to be an organ donor.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that since 1977, or about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, homosexual men are not allowed to donate blood or organs. The argument is that this group, as a whole, is generally at a higher risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion. Despite improvements in infection detection technology, this position has not changed.
The Center for American Progress is among many groups that believes that this is a discriminatory policy. Every day, 43,200 people—one every two seconds—need life-saving blood transfusions. Still, willing donors are being turned away not because they have an infection, but because their sexual orientation makes them statistically more likely to have one. Despite such arguments, there is no sign of the law changing.