Despite 1 In 5 Gay Men Having HIV, FDA Overturns 30-Yr Ban On Blood Donations

Christopher Menahan | InformationLiberation
Dec. 22, 2015

The U.S. government yesterday overturned a 30-year ban on gay men donating blood, the caveat being they must refrain from having sexual contact with other men for at least 12 months prior to any donation.

This 12 month deferral has gay rights groups upset and demanding their blood be treated "equally," despite the fact a recent CDC study reported almost 1 in 5 gay men are HIV positive, with 38% of gay men in Baltimore carrying HIV.

Reuters reports:
The Food and Drug Administration said its decision to reverse the policy was based on an examination of the latest science which shows that an indefinite ban is not necessary to prevent transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

"Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the U.S. population," Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA's biologics division, said in a statement.

[...]The FDA said it has worked with other government agencies and considered input from outside advisory bodies, and has "carefully examined the most recent available scientific evidence to support the current policy revision."

During Australia's switch from an indefinite blood donor deferral policy on gay men, essentially a ban, to a 12-month deferral, studies evaluating more than 8 million units of donated blood were performed using a national blood surveillance system, the FDA said.

"These published studies document no change in risk to the blood supply with use of the 12-month deferral," the agency said. "Similar data are not available for shorter deferral intervals."
Despite the reasonable 12 month deferral, the National Gay Blood Drive Campaign released a statement saying the new policy is "discriminatory" and they won't be satisfied until the deferral process is "eliminated [..] altogether."

Openly gay Democrat congressman Jared Polis, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, said "It is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship can't give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite sex partners in the last year can."

Kelsey Louie of the New York-based HIV and AIDS service organization Gay Men's Health Crisis criticized the deferral requirement, saying "the FDA's 12-month deferral plan would still require gay and bisexual men to be celibate for a full year before they are allowed to donate blood, regardless of marital status and safe-sex practices... Heterosexuals are given no such restrictions, even if their sexual behavior places them at high risk for HIV."

Straight men don't face the same restriction because the number of straight men with HIV is around 1 in 780.

There's a reason for this ban, while the 12-month restriction sounds reasonable based off the data they've given, overturning it entirely in the name of "equality" would be insane.
Christopher Menahan runs the news site He thinks hypocritical hate-crime laws should be abolished. Follow @infolibnews on twitter.

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