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Santa Cruz, Calif., school officials are reconsidering campus blood drives after a student donor was deemed ineligible because he'd previously had sexual encounters with men, AP reports.
Earlier this month 17-year-old Ronnie Childers, who is gay, volunteered to give blood at his school, Santa Cruz's Harbor High, but after waiting three hours in line he was told he could not donate. Blood drive officials were enforcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban on donations from men who have had sexual relations with other men anytime after 1977. According to the FDA's Web site, "Studies have shown that men with a history of male-to-male sex since 1977 may be infected with HIV and/or may have evidence of a lifestyle that potentially exposes them to HIV."
Childers, along with the American Red Cross, disagreed with that assessment. "The reasoning behind me not being able to give blood is ridiculous," said Childers, who serves as Harbor High's student body president. "It made me feel like an outcast."
The controversy has prompted school officials to reconsider hosting school blood drives. "As the blood supply has become so politicized over time, we need to check our policies," Santa Cruz city schools trustee Cynthia Hawthorne told AP. (The Advocate)