- Tom HarkinChairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, US Senate
- Dave CampChairman, Committee on Ways & Means, US House of Representatives
- Margaret HamburgCommissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Dave CampRepresentative
- Tom HarkinSenator
Blood Donation Reform: Lift the Ban on Gay & Bisexual Men
Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Gay and bisexual men are banned from giving blood in the United States. Unlike many other countries, the United States continues this discriminatory policy that stigmatizes gay and bisexual men and bars them from giving the gift of life. Reforming the MSM policy to only screen for high risk sexual practices instead of banning gay and bisexual men will allow more people to donate blood. Find out more at Let Gays Give.
- Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, US Senate
- Chairman, Committee on Ways & Means, US House of Representatives
- Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Currently, the United States does not allow men who have had sex with another man (MSM) to donate blood. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and in March 2012 the American Red Cross reported a decline in donations compared to the March of the previous year. This ban is based on biased and discriminatory stigmas that have persisted since the 1980s.
Since 2006, the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) have recommended changes to this policy, and “strongly support the use of rational, scientifically-based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among blood donors who engage in similar risk activities.” Over 8 countries have reformed this policy including England, Sweden and Argentina. Furthermore, Spain, Italy and France have repealed this ban altogether and implemented eligibility criteria and screening practices based on objective risk factors such as the if the donor has engaged in unprotected sex within the last six months or the number of sexual partners the donor has had in the last six months. Following a 2010 report by the Gay Men's Health Crisis on Blood Donation Reform, we would recommend the creation of similar eligibility requirements.
There are healthy, committed and monogamous gay couples who deserve the right to give the gift of life. It is time that the Food and Drug Administration reform this discriminatory ban. As signatories of this petition we call on you to ease our blood centers and increase the number of eligible healthy people that can donate blood by repealing the current MSM blood ban and introducing new eligibility requirements that screen for high risk sexual practices.
Let Gays Give started this petition with a single signature, and now has 563 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.