Blogswarm: Revise the FDA's Ban On Gay Men Giving Blood

Currently, the FDA bans gay and bisexual men (and any other man who has had sex with men [MSM]) from giving blood.  If a man has had sex with another man even once since 1977, he is permanently disqualified from donating blood.  The ban is a relic of the AIDS panic of the 80's, when HIV/AIDS was "the gay disease", couldn't be tested for reliably, etc.  It made sense then.  But now?  Now, HIV affects every demographic.  Now, it can be detected by testing within 2 weeks of exposure.  And yet the rules are still such that if a man once had protected sex with another man 30 years ago, he will never be allowed to donate blood, while a man who has had sex with a known HIV-positive woman is only deferred for a year, after which he may donate blood again.  This is anti-gay (and apparently is sometimes used as anti-trans, depending on the personnel at a given blood center) discrimination, pure and simple, and it needs to go away. 

Right now, the FDA is convening a committee on whether or not to reconsider the ban.  They are open to public comments.  Please, email Dr. Holmberg - jerry.holmberg@hhs.gov - to encourage the committee to replace the ban with a policy grounded in science in fact, rather than discrimination.  Additional talking points and a form letter can be found here, if you want to use that.

Please email!!


Bardic said...

An acupuncturist I visited had on her form to fill out information, sexual orientation, so she could take proper precaution if I was lesbian. THEN to make it that much worse, she asked if I ever visited a gay bar, because you know....you can get AIDS/HIV just by touching the bar. I'm currently looking for a new one because of that idiocy.

Jadelyn said...

Whaaaat? Gods, that's so unprofessional. Why can't people just ask for testing status - been tested or not, results - or about specific high-risk behaviors - any kind of unprotected sex outside a relationship, intravenous drug use, etc. - instead of asking about irrelevant things like orientation and one's favorite bar? *headdesk*


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