One of the questions asked of male blood donors is if they have had sexual contact, even once, with another male, since 1977. (Females are asked if they have had sexual contact with a male who fits this criterion.) Why? Sexual contact with another male, even once, is reason enough for a lifetime deferral - a politically-correct way of saying that they are banned from giving blood, for life.
Multiple organizations, including the American Red Cross - AABB and American Blood Centers - have attempted to change this biased and unfounded regulation, which was put forth by the FDA in 1983 to prevent the spread of HIV via blood transfusions. However, the FDA has not yet rescinded the regulation.
The American Red Cross states that this rule bars healthy potential donors, and that the policy is "medically and scientifically unwarranted." Current HIV tests can detect the virus, with a high degree of accuracy, within 10 to 21 days of infection, making a lifetime ban on donating not only unnecessary, but discriminatory.
Call on the FDA to rescind this regulation, and allow healthy people to donate blood, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Picture: makelessnoise, Flickr Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/makelessnoise/2562431372/
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