When Lukus Estok recovered from a traumatic case of Covid that sent him to hospital, he tried to donate his plasma for an experimental treatment that could help critically ill coronavirus patients. He finally attended an appointment last week, but as soon as a worker there learned he was gay, her face turned cold. Under pressure from lawmakers and in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged parts of the US and forced thousands of blood drives to cancel, the FDA fast-tracked new guidance in early April to further ease the restriction to three months. But when he got there, he was turned away, much like Estok.
Gay men in US still unable to donate blood despite new coronavirus rules
The FDA’s gay and bi blood-donor ban isn’t just stigmatizing—it’s also likely outdated
Rob Stein. Gay and bisexual men were banned from donating blood over concern that HIV could contaminate the blood supply. The Food and Drug Administration is relaxing a year-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. The FDA announced Monday that it was replacing a lifetime prohibition with a new policy that will allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, but only if they have not had sexual contact with another man for at least one year.
The FDA's Blood Donor Policy Is Still Homophobic
The text of the public comment is below:. Following my request, the FDA issued the new guidance referenced above, relaxing long-held regulations that had prevented most gay men from donating blood. Under the new guidelines, men must wait three months after a sexual encounter with another man before donating blood; previous guidelines had required men to wait a full year after having sex with another man before donating blood.
Democratic senators and gay rights advocates are calling on the federal government to loosen restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, citing the recent blood shortages caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic as a catalyst for change. The Food and Drug Administration's current recommendations restrict men who have sex with men, commonly referred to as MSM, from donating blood within 12 months of their last sexual encounter. While this policy is a more relaxed version of the previous outright ban on all MSM donations, many are hoping blood screenings and advanced technology could prompt the agency to rethink its regulations. In a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, 17 Democratic senators urged the agency to update its month deferral policy, calling it "stigmatizing" and "discriminatory. Instead, they're asking the FDA to base blood donation eligibility on individualized situations rather than "inaccurate stereotypes.