This Tuesday, the administration of President Barack Obama proposed lifting the lifetime ban on bisexual and gay men donating blood. However, life will still be difficult for sexually active gay and bisexual men looking to donate blood.
You can read these fresh recommendations by the Food & Drug Administration in a draft guidance issued by it. The FDA has given 60 days to the public for submitting their comments and views on this new policy; it will issue the final set of rules only after assessing the public reaction.
In 1985, every man who had sex with another man, even for a single time, got banned from donating blood. It was a time around the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. These restrictions were announced when the process of HIV testing was extremely slow and much less refined compared to what it’s now. Today, the situation is significantly different; now, we have tests that are capable of detecting the virus in blood after just nine day of getting infected.
Almost since the time these regulation were set, advocates of gay rights have been demanding a revision of the policy describing it as a discriminatory step. So, for them the new recommendations made by the FDA are extremely reassuring.
However, here, it must be noted that this newly proposed FDA policy would require a man to wait for a minimum of one year after taking part in gay sex before donating blood. This step by FDA has been accepted by most. The president of AMA (American Medical Association) Robert M. Wah, said that this decision of FDA is really commendable and a move in the right direction.
Wah added that FDA will be getting full support from the AMA when it comes to lifting the lifetime ban on heterosexual and gay men donating blood.
However, life is still the same for many transgender, bisexual, gay and lesbian advocates. This is because even after the amendment, the policy stops a large share of the gay men from giving blood. For instance, even if a sexually active gay man is monogamous, he would be stopped from donating blood.
The government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign David Stacy said that although FDA has taken a good decision, it has failed to offer a perfectly suitable solution to the issue. Stacy is not satisfied with this move by FDA as even the amended policy stigmatizes bisexual and gay men.