Any man who has had sex with other men since 1977 is not allowed to donate blood under current FDA rules. The potential donor could have had such sex 10, 20 or even 30 years ago, be healthy, and have been tested for HIV and other STD's since their last unprotected man to man sex, but their having had unprotected sex with another man since 1977 eliminates them from consideration as a blood donor. There is a shortage of blood in the blood banks and to deny men who have had unprotected sex with other men during the past thirty-three years the opportunity to donate blood, despite taking precautions is both discriminatory and significantly significantly lowers the amount of available blood.
I feel that with more advanced testing methods used in all blood drives that this ban should be lifted to both not discriminate against Gay men and more importantly because it would increase our blood supply and overall community health.
Instead of having such a rigid approach to determining whether a potential donor should be allowed to donate blood, the health care worker should be given more discretion based on the type of sex engaged in, whether such sex was within the "window period" for detecting HIV, whether the person engaged in needle sharing and the number of partners that this person has had and what their partners' risky behaviors were, if known. The questions should be about type of sex, rather than whether it was man to man, and whether the potential donor has been tested for HIV and other STD's.
There are far more accurate and less expensive tests for detection of HIV and other STD's than there were when this law was written and these tests were used on every donor during the blood drives that I worked on. There is also a significant percentage of HIV positive people who contracted it through heterosexual sex, as no unprotected sex is risk free. Plus, there is a shortage of blood in many areas.
I ask you to introduce a bill to allow for all healthy individuals to donate blood if they have taken sufficent precauations. I feel that this would both end the discrimination that those in the Gay community have felt in this regard and would benefit the overall health of the community.