ORLANDO – A recent push for blood donations has raised some concerns in the gay community. On the days following June 12, people lined up around blocks to help save those who were not among the 49 killed onsite. Last week, OneBlood – Central Florida’s blood bank – began using images of five Pulse survivors in a campaign to draw in more blood. The problem? Gay men are effectively forbidden from donating blood by the Food and Drug Administration, despite the fact that all donations are carefully screened. That should not diminish the importance of blood resources, OneBlood says.
“The week of the Pulse tragedy OneBlood collected nearly 28,500 units of blood,” OneBlood vice president of marketing and communications Susan Forbes says in an email. “It is an unprecedented amount of blood to be collected in such a short amount of time. That said, ten days after the tragedy, 85 percent of what we collected had already been distributed to our hospital partners. As quickly as blood is donated it is tested, processed and distributed to hospitals. Usually within 2-3 days of a person donating their blood, it will be sent to a hospital. The turnaround is that quick, the need is constant.”
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