Senators To FDA: Lift Ban On Gays Donating Blood
The Associated Press: "The time has come to change a policy that imposes a lifetime ban on donating blood for any man who has had gay sex since 1977, 18 senators said Thursday. The lawmakers stressed that the science has changed dramatically since the ban was established in 1983 at the advent of the HIV-AIDS crisis. Today donated blood must undergo two different, highly accurate tests that make the risk of tainted blood entering the blood supply virtually zero, they said."
"The FDA, in a statement, said that 'while FDA appreciates concerns about perceived discrimination, our decision to maintain the deferral policy is based on current science and data and does not give weight to a donor's sexual orientation.' It said that while some groups favor relaxing restrictions, others, "such as those representing the hemophilia community, support continuation of the current policy" (Abrams, 3/4).
The Washington Times: "'[H]ealthy blood donors are turned away every day due to an antiquated policy,' Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said in a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. ... Now that more is known about HIV transmission and dramatic technological advances have been made to detect HIV in blood, 'we agree with the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers, AABB [American Association of Blood Banks] and others that the time has come for the FDA to modify' its donor rules, said senators, including 17 Democrats and Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent" (Wetzstein, 3/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.