Democratic Senators Move to End Ban on Gay Blood Donations

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Insisting science has eliminated the need for sexual orientation-profiling when it comes to blood donations, 18 U.S. senators have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to eliminate the ban on homosexuals giving blood. The government imposed the ban back in 1983, at the dawn of the AIDS crisis, when officials feared tainted blood would get into the nation’s blood-bank supplies.

Seventeen Democratic senators, along with independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wrote to the FDA arguing that modern science now allows blood banks to carefully screen all donors to prevent contaminated supplies from reaching patients. The senators called the current policy “antiquated” and pointed out that hospitals and emergency rooms are in urgent need of blood products, but are unable to accept blood from gays who wish to donate.
The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) reportedly have told the FDA that the ban “is medically and scientifically unwarranted.”
But some experts still believe the ban should remain in effect. In March 2006, Dr. Andrew I. Dayton told an FDA workshop that transmissions with HIV-infected blood can still occur, and the number of “bad units” would increase if the FDA alters its policy.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Senators Ask FDA to Lift Gay Blood Donor Ban (by Cheryl Wetzstein, Washington Times)
Senators: Lift ban on Gays Donating Blood (by Jim Abrams, Associated Press)


Carole 9 years ago
This angers me to no end. You say gay men have rights, well so do I and I have a right to not receive blood from MSM. How about they start their own blood bank and give to each other if its so safe. One more travesty in our country just to try to satisfy a group that thinks they are being persecuted at the total risk of the whole population. Why dont you spend your time and energy on a program that will encourage people that have lived in a clean monogamous marriage to give so our supply is sufficient. The FDA is a total failure just like most other government entities. I am angered beyond words. Like everything else we will find out when its too late and innocent people are living with blood transfusion HIV, Hepatitis or other disease.
hemophilia dad 14 years ago
In the 80s the hemophilia community was devastated by HIV passed through blood products. Since then the virus has been identified and tests have been developed for donated blood but the testing alone is not foolproof. For this reason, high-risk individuals are not allowed to donate to provide an extra layer of protection. In addition to HIV, gay men have much higher rates of other STDs and could spread as yet unknown STDs rapidly through the blood supply if allowed to donate. Rather than allowing them to donate, the ban should be expanded to include promiscuous heterosexuals. BTW, the statement on the FDA website that "officials feared tainted blood would get into the nation’s blood-bank supplies" is grossly understated. Tainted blood did get into blood-bank supplies and thousands died as a result.
Geekgirl 14 years ago
FDA? True, they have experts. They are also very political and have often bowed to pharmaceutical companies and the government. There was so much corruption in the FDA that several people got together and wrote a letter to Obama. (Googe it). That is why there was a change in the head of the FDA. The FDA should do a thorough review of all data from an objective point of view. The policy should be focused on sexual activity, and blood test results, not singling out groups of people. Straight people who have multiple partners could also be carrying HIV.
barry 14 years ago
You cannot believe a word the government says. If they say something is OK then it probably means its NOT ok. Don't get fooled by money-motivated politicians. Blood is big business, that is all they care about - profit - not the health of the people. Why do you think the FDA is so worried about this - they know the truth! "Dr. Andrew I. Dayton told an FDA workshop that transmissions with HIV-infected blood can still occur, and the number of “bad units” would increase if the FDA alters its policy." - Listen to the experts NOT corrupt politicians. Barry.

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