MONMOUTH, Ore. – The American Red Cross may soon be banned from holding blood drives on one university campus because the organization prohibits some gay men from donating blood.
"We're looking at the practices of the Red Cross — whether they are discriminatory, and if they are, how it relates back to our policy," said Gary Dukes, vice president of student affairs at Western Oregon University (search).
At issue is one of the dozens of questions used to screen donors. Men are asked if they've had sex with another man — even only once — since 1977.
Some student government leaders say the question is homophobic and has no place on campus, even if that means less blood available to those who need it.
"There may be less blood in the blood supply, or we can continue to have a world full of hate and discrimination," said Shauna Bates (search), student senator at WOU.
The Food and Drug Administration (search), not the Red Cross, decides which groups can't donate blood. Among them are anemics, intravenous drug users and sexually active gay men, who still comprise the largest percentage of AIDS cases.
The FDA did recently look at possibly changing, or even dropping, the question about gay sex. But an advisory committee said doing that would risk putting blood recipients in danger of contracting the deadly AIDS virus.
"It's incredibly important that the blood supply remain safe," said Darrin Greenlee of the American Red Cross.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Dan Springer.