Feds ease ban on blood donations from gay men
The Hill | December 23, 2014
The federal government is moving to ease a 31-year-old prohibition on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.
The policy change would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year, partially rolling back a 1983 ban that has since been described as medically unwarranted.
The FDA plans to issue a draft guidance in 2015, which will set off the months-long regulatory process.
“The policy change will take time to implement so this won’t be an immediate change,” Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said.
The FDA’s announcement is the biggest step in a decades-old debate on whether gay and bisexual men, who are at a higher risk for HIV/AIDS, can safely donate blood. But a large group of advocates – including members of Congress, the LGBT community and medical associations – believe the change should go further.