FDA partially overturns ban on gays donating blood

December 21, 2015

Gay_flag.svgThe Food and Drug Administration is doing away with a 32-year-old policy of prohibiting men who have ever had sex with another from donating blood. On Monday, the FDA announced a new policy that allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have abstained from having sex with another man for the previous year. [ABC News]

Other countries, like Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, also have one-year ban policies. Based on data from Australia and other sources, the FDA concluded that altering it policy to a one-year abstinence requirement would not change the safety of the U.S. blood supply.

The FDA issued a statement saying the change is “backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply.”

Gay rights activists said the new policy is a step in the right direction but is still not just.

“It continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” said David Stacy, of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group in the U.S. “It simply cannot be justified in light of current scientific research and updated blood screening technology.”

The FDA imposed the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men during the early years of the AIDS crisis. The ban was intended to protect the blood supply from the disease which few understood at the time.

Many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, argued science no longer supported the policy given advances in HIV testing.

All U.S. blood donations are screened for HIV. An approximately 10-day window exists, though, between initial infection and the time when the virus can be detected in the bloodstream.

The American Red Cross estimates there is approximately a 1 in 1.5 million risk for U.S. patients getting an HIV positive blood donation. A total of about 15.7 million blood donations are collected in the country yearly.

The current blood donor questionnaire asks men if they have had sex with another man since 1977, when the AIDS epidemic in the United States began. The new questionnaire will ask men if they have had sex with another man in the last 12 months.


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31 Comments

  1. Kaiser Bill says:

    The real reason homosexuals were banned from donating blood is that HIV positive homosexual men were donating blood in the early 80s in order to infect more of the populace with GRIDS (Gay Related Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, later known as AIDS), thus bringing more attention and funding to the cause of HIV research.

    (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
    • Black_Copter_Pilot says:

      In the early eighties there was no blood test for HIV. Even the life insurance companies were using a hep C screen to weed out potential HIV applicants and would deny them on that basis. Most of those that had HIV didn’t even know they were infected. I don’t believe for a minute that it was spread as an attach, more so as indifference, as in not closing the bath houses, act.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Would be curious to all that object to the facts being stated, if they have ever walked into a blood bank.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. Pelican1 says:

    “The great man has two hearts – one bleeds, the second one endures.” – Khalil Gibran:

    (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
  4. TaxMeAgain says:

    So, to be clear, we are now allowing formerly gay men that now either abstain from sex with men or just became born again virgins. Seems like a small population segment. Confused or refused.

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  5. Stunned says:

    AIDS continues to kill people and we know it can be passed via blood transfusion so if you’re a man engaging in homosexual acts then no one wants that blood. Seems like a good plan to me.

    (7) 17 Total Votes - 12 up - 5 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    Given the odds of contracting AIDS from a blood donor, you are more likely to be stuck by lightening….Go for it FDA!

    (-27) 29 Total Votes - 1 up - 28 down
    • Stunned says:

      Yet we’d much rather be enjoying life and struck by lightening than to receive a potentially life-saving infusion and discover it’s tainted with AIDS!

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • TaxMeAgain says:

      Maybe the reason that those odds are so favorable is BECAUSE of the policy that prevented AIDS tainted blood from entering the supply chain.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
    • 2bnu4hm says:

      Could you give us the source of your facts? You are grossly mislead.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  7. Gordo says:

    It is a politically driven goal intended to show their is nothing wrong or weird with their sexual practices.
    The gay community has been working toward gaining acceptance of their behavior for the last 40 years and this is one more step toward full equality, without regard for their risky behavior.

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
  8. SamLouis says:

    One has to wonder if this is actually driven by public health realities or it simply about politics and the LGBT agenda?

    (25) 43 Total Votes - 34 up - 9 down
    • kettle says:

      It’s about the blood supply, not about conspiracy or pseudoscience.

      If enough people donated blood then this would not be a issue (I do). America has enough problems without made up issues and paranoia.

      (-12) 32 Total Votes - 10 up - 22 down
      • joseywales says:

        arthur ashe would disagree with you.

        (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
      • Robert1 says:

        While the origins of AIDS remain obscure, it is known that HIV occurred as long ago as the late 1950s in isolated individuals. It began to be widespread in the mid- to late 1970s but, because of the long incubation period, the virus did not cause widespread disease until the 1980s. In most countries, in its early stages the viral epidemic progressed undetected.

        The virus today is not the same virus of long ago. The virus has mutated.
        http://www.who.int/hiv/abouthiv/en/

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • Stunned says:

        You’re right kettle, if enough UNINFECTED people donated blood there wouldn’t be a problem. I pass on donating for years because of my time frame in Europe. That was a precaution and it worked.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Sorry folks I’m (and it rarely happens) with Kettle on this one. I donate blood and for any of you old enough to remember the eighties it is one word, AIDS. Has been, still is, so settle down and take off your foil hats.

      If you don’t think so (because if you donate you’d know) go down and give a pint. They ask you about 30 questions on health. Another is waiting a year if you have had a tatoo. Been out of the country?? Yep you get to wait a year. If you’ve been to Europe you can’t donate at all!!! Mad Cow. I did ask a couple years ago on that and they are working on screening for. Oh and I know from not only asking at the Blood Bank but I have two friends on the do not donate list because of. Again for all the doubters get yourself down to donate and educate yourself.

      (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
      • ToHellinaHandBasket says:

        I took off my tin foil hat for just a few.

        What of those who LIE? Where’s the vetting process for those individuals?

        Strawman.

        (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Really strawman? Dude I told you how it works. I didn’t make the rules. Your lame reply would hold water if they didn’t go after the other categories you so conveniently didn’t want to address to make your leaky argument.

          As far as lies, yea people lie all the time, so yes it isn’t perfect. Please show me anything that is. So should we just shitcan all rules in life and just go for anarchy?

          Man the stupidity here sometimes never ceases to amaze me.

          (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Further, in you zest to not understand (must be hard for you) I said that they have been working on the Mad Cow and getting that overturned for awhile but it takes time. Everyone is stating that we can test for AIDS and yes that is true but it takes TIME to get things done and reversed. When does it ever not?? My wife use to be able to donate but then they classified her with something (medical condition) that she has, that she can’t now. We didn’t sit around and think……..MY GOD IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!! We figured they wanted to be sure for EVERYONE’S SAFETY!!! Good God WTF is so hard to understand how it works? No wonder this country is off the rails with all the brainwashed fools.

          (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Oh and back to your vetting if they lie. They track the donation and if you have EVER read, they made it against they law to knowingly pass AIDS years ago, so with the lie there you go.

          (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
    • kayaknut says:

      If this were just about California the answer would yes it is a political agenda since everything done here is due to someone’s political agenda, and never about realities, public health or otherwise.

      (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
    • mej says:

      As quoted in the article: “It continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” said David Stacy, of the Human Rights Campaign,

      All politics.

      (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Well then I guess people with Tattoos and who have been to Europe continue to be stigmatized by your logic.

        (-3) 13 Total Votes - 5 up - 8 down
      • SamLouis says:

        One has to hand it to the homosexuals. Adopting the moniker “gay” and usurping the rainbow is utter genius from a PR standpoint. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig and being successful at it!

        (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
    • ToHellinaHandBasket says:

      Good question SamLouis.

      It’s both really. But the politics/LGBT agenda is a strong bet.

      (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
  9. Rich in MB says:

    Are you….or have you ever been a member of the Gay community in the last 12 months.
    No?
    Ok lets try this then.
    Have you been or are you a member of ISIS?
    Opps…no…can’t ask that….lets try again.
    Have you had anal sex with another man in the last 12 months…. Ya….that’s it.
    Now we got it and are all feeling safe.

    If you don’t get it….you will later.

    (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down

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