The FDA today followed up on its December hearings and announced that the lifetime ban on blood donations by gay men will soon end. But under the new rules, gay men will only be allowed to donate if they have been abstinent for the previous year. The new policy is currently only in draft form and the public will have 30 days to comment. Both Sen. Tammy Baldwin and the HRC say the change isn’t good enough.
“While the new policy is a step in the right direction toward an ideal policy that reflects the best scientific research, it still falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply. It simply cannot be justified in light of current scientific research and updated blood screening technology. We are committed to working towards an eventual outcome that both minimizes risk to the blood supply and treats gay and bisexual men with the respect they deserve.”
The one year ban was adopted in recent years by Britain, Australia, and several other countries. The AMA and the American Red Cross have called for lifting the US ban entirely.