Saturday, January 2, 2016

FDA Lifts Lifetime Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

Since 1983 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had a policy of not allowing gay men to donate blood, ever. That policy (of a lifetime ban) has been rescinded. Under the new policy, men who have had sex with other men within the past year will still not be allowed to donate blood, potentially eliminating most gay men anyway. But at least the ban is not permanent.

Empirically, gay men are at higher risk of contracting HIV infections than heterosexuals. So back in 1983, when HIV testing was not as accurate as it is today, it was considered prudent to ban gay men from donating blood. Today a lifetime ban is not considered necessary. However, the 1-year ban remains because a newly infected person may not test positive for HIV for up to six months.

The one-year ban also applies to women who know that their male partners have had sex with a man within the past year.

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