By Donald G. McNeil Jr.
In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., 53 people were alive but wounded, many in desperate need of blood. Blood banks in the area put out a call for donors.
Gay men were ready to volunteer. Rumors even went around that blood centers in Orlando had relaxed a ban on donations from sexually active gay men.
But the rumors were false. The ban, imposed by the Food and Drug Administration, remains in place, infuriating some gay rights activists.
The agency does not permit a man who has had sex with another man in the past year to donate blood. Loosening that restriction, officials say, would greatly increase the chances of contaminating the blood supply with H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted infections.
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