Amend Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men, Says HHS Panel

the MPR take:

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lift its ban on accepting donated blood from gay and bisexual men, as well as any men who have sex with men. The advisory panel is encouraging the FDA to modify the ban to include only men who have had sex with other men in the past year; presently, any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is not allowed to donate blood. The FDA has defended the ban (enacted in 1983) saying it is necessary because gay men are at an increased risk of HIV, hepatitis B, and other infections that can be transmitted by blood transfusion. Proponents of the change state that detection of communicable diseases in blood samples has vastly improved with technological advancements. The American Red Cross estimates that an additional 1.8 million lives could be saved if the ban is lifted but the FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of the advisory panel.

For the first time ever, a U.S. Health and Human Services advisory panel recommended that the FDA significantly alter its full-scale ban on gay men donating blood, a discriminatory policy implemented way back in 1983.