Gay Men Plan Des Moines Blood Donation Protest

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By Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines blood donation center is one of 53 sites targeted for a nationwide protest by gay men.

The men will offer their blood at the downtown LifeServe Blood Center on Friday but expect to be turned away.

The Food and Drug Administration barred blood donations from gay men in 1984 as the number of AIDS cases rose among people who'd received blood tainted with HIV, the virus that causes the disease.

Greg Gross works for a Des Moines AIDS prevention group, and he told The Des Moines Register the ban no longer serves a legitimate public health purpose.

He says most gay men don't have the AIDS virus although gay men, as a group, have a high infection rate.

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