ORLANDO, Fla. - A major study funded by the FDA is being conducted and could be a game-changer when it comes to blood donations and the LGBTQ community.
"We know that after the horrific tragedy at Pulse Nightclub there were so many gay and bi men here and around the country who wanted to donate blood to save lives, especially to save those from the LGBTQ community who were clinging to life in hospitals right here in Orlando," said State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith.
Gay and bisexual men were not able to donate blood at that time though. Even today, gay and bisexual men cannot donate blood if it has been less than three months since their last sexual contact.
‘The Advance Study’ is now underway to determine if it’s time to change that policy.
Susan Forbes with One Blood, one of the three major blood banks helping with the study, explained what The Advance Study is, telling FOX 35, "this policy now would be looking at individual risk assessment versus that time-based deferral and that's the big change that we're looking at."
Orlando is one of a handful of cities in the country participating in this study. One-time blood samples are being taken by appointment at ‘The Center.’ Participants must be gay or bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 39-years-old.
Representative Smith is 40 so he’s unable to participate in the study. However, his husband enrolled.
"He said it was easy, straight forward and didn’t take much time," Representative Smith said.
Participants must come back at a later time to go over their test results and to fill out a questionnaire.
Representative Smith said that’s a small sacrifice that could be a part of a major change, stating that "it's an opportunity for people to participate in something that is groundbreaking. It truly is a historic moment."
Participants are compensated for their time.
For information on how to get involved with this study go to https://advancestudy.org.
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