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Councilman Challenging Lifetime Blood, Tissue Donation Ban On Gays

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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Sarah Arbogast joined the KDKA team as a Traffic Reporter in November...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh City Council members are leading the charge to change an FDA policy they call “outdated” and downright, discrimination.

The policy bans gay men from donating blood and tissue.

At this morning’s council meeting, Councilman Dan Gilman introduced a measure urging the FDA to re-evaluate its policy banning gays from donating blood and tissue.

“We’re the only western nation that has a lifetime ban and we are passing up incredible opportunities to have blood supply, tissue supply to help save lives because of 1970’s-era thinking about what makes someone a high-risk donor,” Gilman said.

Gilman said as it stands now, gay or bisexual men who have had sex with a man, even just once, can never donate blood and tissue.

He said the ban is discrimination and Dan Burda agrees.

Burda is helping to lead the charge for change.

About a month ago, his partner of eight years died from a massive heart attack.

He was drug and disease free and took care of himself. However, his tissue couldn’t be used because of the ban.

“It’s the gift of life and I feel through the grievance process, it’s one thing that gets the rest of us left here through it. Knowing that he is living on through others and unfortunately, he was buried with perfectly good organs,” Burda said.

Burda said he knows the policy won’t change overnight, but he is on a mission to make a difference.

Not only for gays, but for the hundreds of thousands of people who would benefit from the life-saving donations.

The group plans to take the fight nationwide.

“I’m hopeful that by the end Obama’s term, we have new regulations out there that allow gay men, who practice safe and responsible sexual behavior, are able to be active donors,” Gilman said.

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