Gay Men Condemn Blood Ban as Biased

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August 3, 2010


"For most people, donating blood is as simple as rolling up a sleeve. But not for gay men. Since 1983, the Food and Drug Administration has barred them from donating.

"...Donated blood is routinely screened for H.I.V. and other infectious agents. The F.D.A. employs multiple safeguards, including donor evaluations and computerized blood testing, to ensure that infected blood is not distributed.

"Since the 1980s, when the ban was enacted, the tests have become much more sensitive and accurate. The F.D.A. did not take this into account when it reviewed the restriction in past years, said Bebe Anderson, H.I.V. Project Director for Lambda Legal, a national gay rights group that has opposed the ban.

"'We think this policy is harmful and makes no sense,' she said. 'Turning away perfectly good donors gives an incorrect and harmful message about transmission risk. This is screening donors based on sexual orientation, not on risk. It also stigmatizes people who wish to donate.'"


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