Overwhelming number of Orlando blood donations despite rules for gay men

- Hundreds of people in Orlando lined up to give blood to help the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub, but there are still major restrictions to limit gay men giving.

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In December, the nation's three-decade-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men was formally lifted.

However, the Food and Drug Administration said it replaced the lifetime ban with a new policy barring donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.

In the hours after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, officials urged people to donate blood to help the victims.

Its guidelines for potential blood donors include the recommendation: “Defer for 12 months from the most recent contact a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.”

In fact, officials at OneBlood say they received such an overwhelming response that they’re asking donors to come back over the next several days.

Fox News reports OneBlood is accepting donations from gay men, despite the federal policy. The agency says donors will be given full blood screening, “but they are not turning people away from donations.”

Generally healthy people ages 16 and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, can donate blood. A photo ID is required.

More than 50 people were injured and 50 were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning. 

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