Blood Donation Rules Roil California Campuses Since the early days of the AIDS crisis, federal policy has banned gay men from giving blood. Gay activists say the policy is outdated, discriminatory and needs to be stopped. Campuses in Northern California are taking two very different tacks to wage their protests.
NPR logo

Blood Donation Rules Roil California Campuses

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/91392936/91393562" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Blood Donation Rules Roil California Campuses

Blood Donation Rules Roil California Campuses

Blood Donation Rules Roil California Campuses

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/91392936/91393562" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Since the early days of the AIDS crisis, federal policy has banned gay men from giving blood in order to prevent the spread of HIV. Gay activists say the policy is outdated, discriminatory and needs to be stopped.

Campuses in Northern California are taking two very different tacks to wage their protests.

In January, San Jose State University banned blood drives; at the University of California, Berkeley, gay men are recruiting donors in their place.

But there are big questions: How safe is safe enough? And when does a precaution raise the risk that someone is more likely to die from a lack of blood rather than infected blood?

Sarah Varney reports from member station KQED.