A group of gay men are fighting for the right to donate blood, saying they are being discriminated against.
The outcry comes on world blood donor day.
Tony Simpson is a gay man who believes he and other people like him should have the right to give blood.
"You should not as it were, tar everybody with the same brush," he said.
Blood donation rules state that a man who has had sex with another man within the previous five years is not allowed to give blood.
Also banned are prostitutes, people who have lived in parts of Africa and anyone who lived in Britain, France and Ireland when mad cow disease broke into the food supply.
The precautions are to protect people who receive the blood from viruses like HIV.
But Simpson says not all sexually active gay men have HIV.
"We think that it's taking a category of persons and effectively stigmatised them for being a member of that category, whereas in fact this is a question of individual behaviour," he said.
"Some people in that category are probably at risk, and others are not."
The NZ Blood Service is crying out for donations but gay men are 44 times more at risk of having HIV and testing won't always pick up the virus.
"At this time we do not have robust systems available to do that, and hence pending their development we need to continue with this exclusion of all men who have had sex with other men," medical director Dr Peter Flanagan said.
In the past five years, the Human Rights Commission has received nine complaints from men denied the opportunity to donate blood because of their sexual orientation.
But the Aids Foundation is comfortable gay men aren't being discriminated against.
"We don't consider it discrimination because the most important thing around the blood supply is that it's 100% safe," said Aids Foundation executive director Shaun Robinson.
"A transfusion is the most effective way for a blood born virus like HIV or like hepatitis C to be passed on from one person to another, so the standards of risk elimination need to be 100%."