Will blood donor policy toward gay men ever change?

As a health measure to protect the American public from the frightening HIV/AIDS epidemic that scientists knew very little about, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration instituted a rule in 1985 that banned gay men who had had sex with other gay men since 1977 from donating blood.
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As a health measure  to protect the American public from the frightening HIV/AIDS epidemic that scientists knew very little about, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration instituted a rule in 1985 that banned gay men who had had sex with other gay men since 1977 from donating blood.

This year, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis released “A Drive for Change: Reforming U.S. Blood Policies,” arguing that this lifetime ban, despite frequency of sexual activity or whether one is HIV negative,  is not necessary today with increased research and knowledge about the virus.

According to GMHC, advances in the testing of donated blood has made the chances of contracting HIV infected blood one in 1.5 million.

Because of these advances, people who engaged in sexual activity with an HIV-positive person a year ago are allowed to donate blood. However, this only applies to heterosexual people, while gay men are continued to be banned from donating, even if they had sex with an HIV-negative man five years ago.

“It is time for the FDA to join the growing consensus favoring reform of blood donation policies for gay and bisexual men, and implement reforms that allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood while improving the overall safety of the American blood supply,” a report from GMHC states.

For more information visit 365gay.com

Olivia Stephens

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