UF Law SBA calls on students to donate if they can, and wear red in support of those who can’t
On Oct. 24 and 25, UF Law will be hosting a blood drive on campus. In conjunction, the UF Law SBA Diversity Committee is engaging students in the National LGBT Bar Association’s “End the Gay Blood Ban” awareness initiative. The initiative seeks to raise awareness about the dated and discriminatory ban that prevents men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as women who have sex with MSMs, from donating blood.
These current regulations stem from a lifetime ban implemented during the AIDS crisis. During the outbreak of the epidemic of the 1980’s, the FDA sought to stop the spread of HIV through a stigmatizing ban on gay men, which lasted even after advanced screening techniques made this ban unnecessary. The ban stood for more than three decades before being changed in 2012 to a 1-year ban since the last sexual encounter.
Since the 1980s, science has demonstrated that the blood ban is no longer accurate or necessary, but instead works to actively discriminate against a group based on their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is not an indication of an individual’s ability to contract sexually transmitted diseases. Thus, rather than a ban, equality groups and health experts are calling for individual risk assessments.
There is no science supporting the efficacy of the ban, nor indicating that lifting it would increase the spread of HIV. Rather, countries that have lifted this ban, like Italy and Argentina, have seen an increase in donations with no increase in HIV infections.
The SBA Diversity Committee asks that all students wear red on both days in support of the initiative and donate blood if they are able. OutLaw and SBA will be tabling with information, fliers, and a token of appreciation and support for those who can give.
The mission of the UF Law Student Bar Association is to foster a collaborative, engaging educational, professional and social environment at UF Law that enhances students’ educational experience and prepares them to practice law. Through partnering with student organizations, faculty, and administration, UF Law SBA allows students to shape their experience at UF Law and make lasting changes in the educational environment.