Banned for life: Why gay men still can’t donate blood

July 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM ET

David Dassey is one of the healthiest men in Los Angeles. At 62, he can still run a sub-four marathon. Last April he competed in Boston for the fourth time and almost made it to the finish — just past the 25-mile mark — when the bombs exploded. Many of his fellow runners sprinted to the nearest blood donation centers, fearing the worst. Dassey, a doctor who works for the county’s public health department, didn’t join them. “I’ve known for 30 years that I can’t donate,” he says. “It doesn’t even go through my head anymore.”

Donating blood

Like millions of other gay men, Dassey used to give blood a few times a year without a second thought. And he still remembers the day nearly three decades ago

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