Democratic lawmakers want FDA to change its blood donation policy that bans gay men

Democratic lawmakers want FDA to change its blood donation policy that bans gay men

Two Democratic lawmakers, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, are urging the Food and Drug Administration to change its blood donation policy that prohibits gay men, who have had sexual contact with another man in past 12 months, from donating blood.

Along with the two Democratic lawmakers were the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and others. On Tuesday, they recommended FDA to make changes to the policy. Polis is an openly gay who want to change the policy, while Grayson, who represents Orlando, said that blood donation screening should be based on science and a donor's safe and monogamous sexual behavior and not on their orientation.

Polis said after Orlando shooting, there was shortage of blood for those who were injured in the shooting, which killed 49 people and injured dozens more. At that time, Orlando's OneBlood donation center needed donors to help the hospitals treating those injured. However, loved ones and even spouses of those injured could not give blood. He said it's time for the FDA to immediately address the issue.

“The AMA has been a strong advocate for eliminating public policies that do not align with scientific evidence and best ethical practices in public policy," the group stated.

The policy came to form in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in 1983. The FDA enacted a policy that banned donations from men who have sex with men (called MSMs); women who have sex with MSMs and transgender people. The agency wanted to ensure safe national blood supply by banning those who were considered to be at high risk.


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