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The Blood Ban & Crisis–Here is How You can Help in the Philadelphia Area

The United States is currently facing a huge conflict. The American Red Cross, a non-profit organization, has recently declared a national blood crisis. What exactly does this mean? We are currently dealing with the nation’s worst blood shortage in over a decade. Why are blood donations important? Well, blood transfusions are a necessary procedure for cancer patients, blood disorder patients, and accident patients. Many of these patients need a blood transfusion to survive yet are denied one. Unfortunately, the American Red Cross has observed an immense decline of individuals donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic. A part of this decline correlates to the number of blood drives that have been canceled and understaffed; however, a large part of this decline correlates to the blood ban that exists. The Food and Drug Administration currently has a guideline that restricts gay and bisexual men from being blood donors. Gay and bisexual men must be celibate for three months before donating blood. There are many ways you can help combat this issue in the Philadelphia area.

  1. Sign Petitions Related to the Blood Ban

            The blood ban is a serious matter. It is both a denial of human rights and ignorance of what is needed for our country currently. It is not right to have restrictions for someone based on their sexuality. There is a misconception that HIV/AIDS is a gay-only disease and can only be spread amongst the LGBT+ community. While it is true that HIV/AIDS affects a fair percentage of gay men, not all gay men have the disease. In addition, heterosexual individuals are largely impacted by this disease, not just gay men. It is understandable that you do not want healthy individuals to catch HIV/AIDS. Simple testing before donating blood can be done to avoid this issue. We would have a lot more blood donations and possibly not have a blood crisis if gay men and bisexual men were able to donate sooner. There should not be a three-month wait period before someone can donate blood because of their sexuality. That is why you should sign petitions to support this matter. Petitions showcase how meaningful a matter is to a nation of people and leads politicians to listen.

Here are petitions you can sign in support:

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-demand-the-fda-end-unjust-blood-donation-rules-for-gay-and-bisexual-men?nowrapper=true&referrer=&source=email-quick-signature-needed-demand-the-fda-end-homophobic-restrictions-on-donating-blood

https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/allow-gay-men-to-donate-2

https://www.change.org/p/federal-drug-administration-end-the-discriminatory-deferral-policy-allow-gay-men-to-donate-blood

  1. Write Directly to your Politicians

            The government has the power to lift these restrictions, yet unfortunately, the restrictions still exist. We all have congressional representatives for the specific area and district we live in. These congressional representatives work in the legislative branch and have the power to vote to establish a new policy that would ultimately remove the restrictions against gay and bisexual men. Senators also have the same power. Therefore, it is important to write to your congressional representative and senator. You can send an email or letter to them addressing your concerns. Hopefully, doing this will bring awareness to the circumstances.

Here is how you can find out who your congressional representative and senator is:

  1. Find your Representative Website

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

  • Find your Senator Website

https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm

  • Donate Blood

If you are not affected by the blood ban, it is important to donate blood. Use your privilege and freedom to good use. All blood types are deeply needed currently; especially, O positive, O negative, and platelet donations to help fix the blood crisis. If there are not sufficient blood types within hospitals’ blood banks, patients might not be able to receive blood transfusions, unfortunately. There are several Blood Donation centers in the Philadelphia area that you can donate your blood to.

            Here are the Blood Donation Centers in Philadelphia:

  • Philadelphia Red Cross Blood, Platelet and Plasma Donation Center: 700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
  • CSL Plasma: 101 E Olney Ave Unit #10, Philadelphia, PA 19120
  • Northeast Philadelphia Red Cross Blood, Platelet and Plasma Donation Center: 1401 Rhawn St, Philadelphia, PA 19111
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Blood Donor Center: 111 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
  • Red Cross House: 4000 Powelton Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Society Hill Towers: ​​285 Saint James Place Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • American Red Cross Eastern PA: 2221 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

 3. Use your social media

           Finally, it is effective to use your socials to spread the word. If more people learn about the crisis and are educated, more people will take the matter into their own hands. Repost any informational threads you can or articles, create your own content dedicated to the matter to share, direct message your friends and family about the cause, and more. Use your voice to stand up for what is right!

I hope this was sincerely helpful for you. Hopefully, this article will help bring this issue to light and lead people to get involved more!

Alyssa Farmer

Jefferson '24

I'm Alyssa! I'm a second year Nursing student. I love music, crystals, astrology, incense, Halloween, Marvel, Squishmallows, ramen and animals!
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