For decades, gay men have been restricted from donating blood. While restrictions have been gently relaxed throughout the years, many have criticized the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) for its policies- which included banning men from giving blood if they’d had sex with another man. The policies first appeared during the AIDS crisis that resulted in the ostracization of gay men during a time of uncertainty.
The FDA is currently reviewing the results of a study of over 2,000 queer-identifying men that concluded in September. The study deliberated between alternatives to the traditional deferral system while adhering to safety standards during the donation process. As opposed to disqualifying gay men from donating blood based solely on their last time being intimate, the FDA is evaluating individuals based on their risk factors as a whole.
Kate Fry, CEO of America’s Blood Center, issued a statement in support of ending the ban. The ABC is one of many organizations that partnered with the FDA:
“ABC strongly supports this effort as a pathway to the establishment of donor-screening based on individual risk behaviors, not sexual or gender identity. The use of rational, science-based deferral periods must be applied fairly and consistently among all blood donors.”