Federal Government Considers Relaxing Gay Blood Donor Ban

According to The Hill, The Health and Human Services Department is considering a a pilot program to create “alternative donor deferral criteria” for gay men.

“The department’s goal “is to conduct a … study, in which MSM who meet specified criteria would be permitted to donate blood, with additional safeguards in place to protect blood recipients during the course of the study,” the website reports.

“Currently, men who have had sex with other men (MSM) since 1977 cannot donate blood due to “higher levels of certain transfusion-transmissible infections” among that population, the notice explains. Members of Congress’s interest and increased accuracy among donor testing have made the department reconsider the ban.”

The push for the government to end the gay blood ban got a boost earlier this year when actor and New England resident, Chris Bradley spoke out against the practice.

Carol Dembeck, communication project manager for the Northern New England Region of the American Red Cross, told Seacoastonline.com in January,”the organization would like to see an end to this indefinite deferral of blood donations by gay men. The Red Cross has united, she said, with the American Association of Blood Banking and American Blood Centers to make a joint statement to the FDA asking that they reconsider.”

“Other groups considered at increased risk for infection that can be transmitted by blood transfusion, including heterosexuals who engaged in sex with an HIV-positive partner, are banned from donating for just 12 months. But the law places a lifetime ban on a gay man, who may never have had relations with an HIV-positive partner,” reports the site.

The Health and Human Services Department will be taking public comment on its new program for 90 days.




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