The internet media company Unilad has partnered with the ad agency Elvis to launch a new campaign aimed at allowing queer men to donate blood in defiance of UK policy.
Much as with the United States, the United Kingdom banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood during the hysteria of the AIDS crisis. Despite the disease coming under control and a shortage of blood types, both nations continue to bar gay and bisexual men from blood donation.
Unilad and Elvis now hope to affect change by opening an underground blood bank that will accept donations from gay/bi men. “The more we researched, the more we came to realize how few people knew about this,” says Elvis associate creative director James Hudson. “We decided that, just because the government won’t take this blood, doesn’t mean we can’t collect it to show that there’s millions of liters of life-saving blood going to waste.”
Potential donors can now register online. This November 23, the blood bank will open in an undisclosed location, allowing donors to give blood without any kind of declaration of abstinence. Donors will instead undergo a risk assessment based on sexual behavior and sign a nondisclosure form designed to protect the blood bank from exposure. Blood will also be collected by technicians professionally trained in phlebotomy.
Here’s hoping we get a similar blood bank in the US in the near future.