A South Florida man is in shock after he believed he was turned away from donating plasma due to his sexuality.
After recovering from COVID-19, Jorge Diaz said he wanted to help others. So, he attended a blood drive on Sunday to donate his convalescent plasma.
"They called me to the little office in the bus and said, 'I’m sorry we cannot receive your blood,'" Diaz said.
Diaz believes he was rejected because of a section of the questionnaire that asked if he had sex with another man in the last three months.
He answered, yes. Diaz is a gay man in a long-term relationship.
"I felt, when I left that place, I felt contaminated, discriminated. Not because I’m a gay person, but because they’re gonna imply that I have HIV," Diaz said.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration changed its donor policy regarding men who have sex with men. The criteria went from 12 months to three months.
According to OneBlood - the donation center Diaz went to - convalescent plasma donors must meet the FDA requirements and be symptom-free for 14 days.
"These are specialized donations, and there are appointments we make for you to go to a certain location and make that donation," Susan Forbes, Senior Vice President of OneBlood, said. "It’s really important that people follow the process.”
Other reasons people can be deemed ineligible for blood donations include age, traveling to countries with malaria and pregnancy.
Despite OneBlood claiming to be following FDA requirements, Diaz says the rule itself is wrong.
"They have to rewrite the rules. It is wrong," Diaz said.