MSM Policy

The Petition

If you want to learn more about the actual policy change we are proposing, you can view the petition and the one-page summary that precedes it. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the authors by emailing blooddrivesunited@umich.edu.

Our Proposed Change

A particular question in the health history questionnaire that all donors complete permanently defers any potential donor who is a male who has had sexual contact with another male since 1977. We propose seeks to allow the inclusion of newly eligible, safe donor populations while at the same time reinforcing the safety of the blood supply via the alteration of the question to - Have you had unprotected sexual contact with a new sexual partner in the past 12 weeks? - An affirmative answer would result in a year-long deferral, which is equivalent to other behaviorally-based deferral periods. This question eliminates any discrimination against sexual orientation, while strengthening restrictions on risky behaviors that presently go unpunished.

MSM Policy

Blood Drives United is a student-run volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion, organization, and staffing of campus-wide blood drives at the University of Michigan, and is responsible for hosting Blood Battle, the annual blood drive competition against Ohio State. BDU collaborates with the Southeast Michigan region of the American Red Cross.

Currently, the FDA has a policy that places a lifetime ban on any men who have sex with men, and our goal this year is to address this policy. BDU has concluded that the present FDA policy is inadequate, discriminatory, and can and should be improved. BDU will launch an initiative, Bleeding for Equality, on November 3rd to coincide with the upcoming 2013 Blood Battle, with the support of a number of other student organizations and actors.

The blood drives associated with this competition will be open for presently ineligible individuals to recruit or sponsor other individuals to donate on their behalf. The goals of this initiative are to generate the potential to save increased amounts of lives, secure the safety of the blood supply, and create equality amongst donors. The discrimination against the MSM population is a social injustice that can be addressed in safe, effective ways. Present policies defer a number of safe or low-risk donors while failing to defer a number of riskier ones.

Action Steps

On Tuesday, April 15, Blood Drives United will host a sponsor blood drive from 2-8 pm in the Michigan Union, allowing individuals ineligible to give blood due to the FDA's ban on men who have had sex with men (MSM) to bring an eligible "sponsor" donor to give blood on their behalf. Both the sponsor donor and the ineligible individual will receive a free t-shirt at the drive. Please make an appointment to donate at redcrossblood.org, sponsor code "goblue". For more information or if you are interested in helping out, contact blooddrivesunited@umich.edu. In addition, there will be a community information discussion at the Ginsberg Center on the following day. If you know of any ways to get the word out about the petition, or any student organizations on campus who can be of assistance, we would love to collaborate and make a change to this policy.