Man says he was rejected from blood bank for 'looking gay'

Tue. July 19, 2011 10:55 AM by News Staff

Chicago, IL - Aaron Pace of Gary, Ind., says he might look gay, but he's not -- and he's outraged that a blood bank in the Chicago area turned him away.

"I was humiliated and embarrassed," the 22-year-old told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can't. And I'm not even a homosexual."

Donors can get up to $40 a pop at Bio-Blood, but they wouldn't take Pace's blood on a recent visit.

Since 1983, the FDA has not allowed blood banks to take donations from men who have had sex with a man even once since 1977. The rule grew out of the AIDS scare, but now most scientists and doctors agree that adequate screening exists to make sure that HIV-tainted blood never makes it into the system.

Blood banks ask male donors if they have ever had sex with a man. The state of Indiana's Health Department told the Sun-Times that blood banks make up their own screening rules based on the FDA guidelines.