Berkeley Fights Donation Policy Without Protests

Instead of boycotting, gay students recruit substitute blood donors
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 2:00 PM CDT
The FDA's ban on blood from actively gay men stemmed from the AIDS scares of the 1980s, and the organization has still not completed updating the research that could reverse the policy.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Several San Francisco-area campuses have banned blood drives to protest federal policies preventing sexually active gay men from donating blood, but at UC-Berkeley, students are making a point without resorting to boycotts. Instead of withholding blood on grounds the 25-year-old FDA rule is discriminatory, Cal is encouraging gay students to recruit eligible donors to give for them, the Oakland Tribune reports.

"I felt like protesting and taking blood out of the supply would be a bit silly," one gay student said. Many are calling for the Food and Drug Administration to review its policies. A spokeswoman said the agency is "open to changes ... if we are presented with compelling data" that new rules would result in untainted blood.