National Gay Blood Drive Highlights FDA Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

dracula doesn't care but rules are rulesGEICOOn Friday, the first National Gay Blood Drive was held, with HIV testing sites being set up near blood donation centers in 50 cities across the country. Gay men tried to give blood after testing negative for HIV, and organizers plan to send the rejection forms the gay men receive, along with their HIV test results, to the FDA, in order to urge it to change its policy of not allowing gay men to donate blood.

Since the 1980s, the FDA has banned blood donations from sexually active gay men any man who has had sex with another man at any point after 1977. When the ban was instituted, little was known about HIV or how to test for it, and thousands of people became infected through blood transfusions. Today, all donated blood gets tested for HIV. But the ban continues, with the FDA explaining that “tests cannot detect HIV 100% of the time” and that “MSM” (the FDA’s abbreviation for “men who have sex with other men”) remain the highest-risk group for HIV infections, with infection rates continuing to increase even as infection rates for intravenous drug users and heterosexuals has gone down.

Nevertheless, the FDA admitted in 2010 that its “donor deferral policies” were “suboptimal in permitting some potentially high risk donations while preventing some potentially low risk donations,” but voted to keep the policies and study the issue further. The FDA says the Department of Health and Human Services is studying several questions related to changing the deferral policy, including: “What motivates men with MSM behavioral history to donate blood and would MSM be likely to comply with modified deferral criteria?”, which suggests at least some gay donors have adopted at least half of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on their “MSM behavioral history.”

The demonstration follows a vote last month by the American Medical Association recommending the ban on gay men donating blood be lifted and an emergency plea by the American Red Cross last week for more blood donations as a seasonal slump continues.

Related reading: Unnecessary regulations are running blood banks dry.

h/t Gwen Dallas

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  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm not touching that.

  • AlexInCT||

    You could get infected with the gay!

    /joke.

    Seriously, when are the Hep B & C high risk people gonna step up and say they feel dscriminated against too by the blood drive types...

  • SugarFree||

    I can't donate blood any longer. My blood is too awesome for you bastards to be able to handle it.

  • AlexInCT||

    YOU CAN'T HANDLE MY BLOOD!

  • ||

    Your blood sugar count is too low, isn't it?

  • BuSab Agent||

    I can't donate blood because I lived in Great Britain during the late 80's early 90's. I might give peeps the Mad Cow!

  • AlexInCT||

    You talking about my ex?

  • The DerpRider||

    Don't they test all blood they receive? If they do, why does it matter who donates it?

  • Another David||

    Because "tests cannot detect HIV 100% of the time," as if only HIV contracted through teh ghey will slip through, while good old heterosexual AIDS would be just fine.

  • Acosmist||

    Good old mythical AIDS?

  • Mickey Rat||

    You did read this part?

    "... that “MSM” (the FDA’s abbreviation for “men who have sex with other men”) remain the highest-risk group for HIV infections, with infection rates continuing to increase even as infection rates for intravenous drug users and heterosexuals has gone down."

  • JeremyR||

    I'm sorry, it might not be politically correct, but gay men are much more likely to be infected with HIV than straight ones.

    It makes no sense to throw out a basic fact just to appease the PC police.

  • ||

    Don't you know David that we need to exclude an entire group of people by government fiat just because more individuals test positive than the general population? You need to ditch this radical individualism of yours and return to the fold of coercive collectivist classifications.

    And I'm sure if the incident of HIV in the general population were higher they'd certainly insist that NO ONE give blood, since obviously that would be unreasonably high.

  • Tonio||

    There is a delay of up to thirty days between infection and the test being able to detect the infection.

    They do test all donated blood for HIV.

  • entropy||

    This is just like the civil rights struggle. People have a right to give blood to people who evidently don't want it.

  • Calidissident||

    Not arguing for or against the ban, but it's banned by the FDA, which is a governmental agency

  • Another David||

    "People" being the FDA? This isn't the hospitals' policy.

  • acidovorax||

    "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood!"

  • Tony||

    I've been using this as a "get out of being pressured to donate blood for free" card for years.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    My problem is that the churchlday busybodies who keep pestering me to donate blood are the same people who would absolutely freak out if I mentioned being gay.

  • cavalier973||

    We know; we're just messing with you.

  • ||

    I'm disappointed I can't give blood.

    Also it's not just men who have had any kind of sexual contact with another man since '77, but also any woman who has had sex with a man since he's had sex with a man after 1977. There are probably quite a few women who shouldn't be donating under this ban, who are donating anyway.

  • MissMalevolent||

    Since when is science Politically Correct? We are falling very far down the rabbit hole.

  • WC Varones||

    I'm banned from donating blood because I lived in England for 6 months more than a decade ago and therefore might have mad cow disease... even though I am and was at the time a vegetarian.

  • cavalier973||

    You have Mad Carrot disease.

  • cavalier973||

    You really should post the link to the commercial, if you're going to use a frame from it.

  • cavalier973||

  • Saneman||

    Is that a gay vampire?

  • enoriverbend||

    "Since the 1980s, the FDA has banned blood donations from sexually active gay men any man who has had sex with another man at any point after 1977. "

    I gave blood today at the Red Cross for the 2xxth time, and as usual ran across the eligibility question about having sex with men, and for the very first time in all those visits I thought to myself:

    Somewhere out there, there is at least one gay guy who hasn't gotten laid since '76.

    You'd feel sorry for him, but don't -- 'cause he can donate blood. I'm sure that makes up for it.

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