As New York City sees new surges in COVID-19 cases, there are renewed concerns about blood shortages. But Ryan Manuel Koerber was turned away from the New York Blood Center in April due to his sexuality. FDA guidelines still specifically bar men who have sex with men (commonly referred to as “MSM”) from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months. That rule, which was initially a lifelong ban from donating blood, was established in the 1980s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, singling out MSM when screening for HIV has consistently been protested as homophobic and in the context of the pandemic, many consider that lifting the ban is long overdue.

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Photo credit: Ryan Manuel Koerber