Despite my parents almost regularly participating, I have never donated blood. Originally, I did not donate due to thought of blood being drained out of my body and my fear of passing out. But eventually, I became no longer eligible to donate due to being considered a risk since I would be an MSM donor (men who have sex with men).
So I headed to Houston's Med Center during my lunch break, took a rapid HIV test, attempted to donate blood at the blood center with my HIV- result in hand, and was denied. The local CBS affiliate, KHOU, happened to be there and wanted to interview me about my experience (video in the link):
I understand why the FDA put the ban on gay men in the first place. Not much was known about AIDS and HIV when the epidemic hit its stride. But as people suffered, medical science has progressed enough to the point where we know a lot about the disease. Every blood transfusion is screened. People can be tested for HIV. And the risk of someone unknowingly donating HIV+ blood is extremely slim. I hold the belief that this ban should be based on risky sexual behavior in general. Considering the fact that the American Red Cross is often short of blood, the FDA needs to allow as many eligible people to donate as possible.