FDA Will Allow Gay Men to Give Blood, But Only If They've Been Abstinent for a Year


The Food and Drug Administration has reformed its mandate on gay men giving blood. Gay men are now permitted to donate blood—just so long as it’s been 12 months since their last sexual encounter.

For the past 32 years, the FDA maintained a policy that banned sexually active gay men from giving blood, according to ABC News. The organization announced on Monday that this new shift (first proposed last year) is “backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply.”

With this news, America joins Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia in a 12-month deferral stance.

Naturally, LGBTQ activists are upset with the limits of the decision:

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

Assuming the new blood donation mandate is drawn upon the idea that people are encouraged to get tested for HIV annually, shouldn’t everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, be held to this standard?

At this point, it is clear that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that affects people around the world no matter their sexual preference because people have unprotected sex and share needles and so on. Sorting gay men to one side and everyone else to the other seems pretty nakedly biased—still.

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Image via AP.

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