FDA Upholds Blood Ban For Gay Men

The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that they would continue a policy created during the AIDS crisis in 1983 that prohibits any gay man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood. Those that have are permanently banned from donating because the FDA sees them as having an increased risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusions.

BloodAccording to the Associated Press, “In March 2006, the Red Cross, the international blood association AABB and America’s Blood Centers proposed replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. New and improved tests, which can detect HIV-positive donors within just 10 to 21 days of infection, make the lifetime ban unnecessary, the blood groups told the FDA. In a document posted Wednesday, the FDA said it would change its policy if given data that show doing so wouldn’t pose a ‘significant and preventable’ risk to blood recipients. ‘It is a way of saying, ‘Whatever was presented to us was not sufficient to make us change our minds,” [Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of America’s Blood Centers] said. The FDA said HIV tests currently in use are highly accurate, but still cannot detect the virus 100 percent of the time. The estimated HIV risk from a unit of blood is currently about one per 2 million in the United States, according to the agency.”

Added Bianco: “I am disappointed, I must confess.”

Here’s a great video with some of the facts from Kenneth Garrett, behind the website Bloodsense, which lays out the facts and says how you can get involved.

Ban kept for gay men donating blood [ap via denver post]
FDA Policy on Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men [fda]


  1. sean says

    just two words for the Foolish and Douche Administration… Vioxx and Avandia. take two and call your mortician in the morning…

  2. ReasonBased says

    Just a quick browse of Manhunt ads and you might begin to sympathize with the FDA….

  3. anon says

    The problem with the policy from a practical point of view is that it relies on the honesty of the donor. It’s not like they can tell everyone gay from str8! How many high-risk men on the down-low have donated blood over the years? Even before these new tests came out. Clinton didn’t reverse the ban either, nor the one on immigrants to the US with AIDS or even visitors for AIDS conferences.

    The root of this might be fear of what happened in France when the head of their equivalent agency was nearly convicted of murder after lax blood testing allowed several hundred hemophiliacs to get AIDS back in the 1980’s. There was a huge cover-up by the French agency, but it nearly brought down the govt.

  4. Anon says

    I wouldn’t want any high-risk groups able to donate blood. Sorry.

    Yeah no more blood donations from black folks either since they have almost as high an infection rate as sexually active gay men.

  5. Jim says

    high risk? i only came out 3 months ago and have had protected sex once. im also A- and used to be a regular donor. i had to have a really embarassing conversation with puget sound blood center on why they should stop calling me ALL the time to give. i think about 5% of the population has my blood type so they get low and usually call me the first day im eligible to give again. i also know the other side, i have an uncle who contracted HIV through transfusions. but trust me you would want my blood before you took the blood of some of my straight friends.

  6. says

    The issue is not an emotional one but a scientific one. I work in the blood industry and am well versed in both the politics and the science of it. One unfortunate truth of the blood industry is that in the late 70’s the blood industry recruited homosexuals because they tended to have a high titer of antibodies to hepatitis. This recruitment allow for the blood supply to become tainted with HIV. This caused thousands of deaths to hemophiliacs who require blood clotting factors to survive. Sometimes you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  7. Aaron says

    Discrimination is discrimination, no matter what kind of ‘spin’ you put on it. Someone else already stated this one: No more donations from black teenagers since their ‘group’ has a higher percentage of drug users.

    Wouldn’t that cause an uproar. How come more of us gays are pissed off about this??

  8. anon says

    The late 1970’s there was no knowledge of AIDS nor and AIDS blood test. There could be another unknown disease out there right now we don’t know about in the blood supply. I’m not sure the blood supply is tested for all newly discovered forms of hepatitis either (A-G).

  9. DHaas says

    Give it 10 years for all of the super conservatives to become either senile or die.
    Things’ll change soon…

  10. says

    I’m sure the FDA is packed with conservative “law” makers, just like the Justice Department. Days like this make me remember that outside of my urban GWM privilege, I’m still just a faggot to a lot of people. I’m pissed.

    Perhaps we should all go to blood donation centers and be honest about our sexual history. They will take your blood and then throw it away. The cost on resources could be semi-noticeable but in the end it would provide a lot of data to fight this policy.

    Please, please don’t play straight to give blood.

  11. says

    This reminds me of that Nip/Tuck episode Christian could not donate cause his body had so many antibodies cause he released his bodily fluids frequently. If they are gonna get technical ban all good looking and/or rich men they are statistically likely to have more sex thus risk of std’s

  12. peterparker says

    Vergol…At least a decade ago, the medical community ceased to think of HIV/AIDS in terms of ‘high risk groups’ and began to think of the disease in terms of ‘high risk behaviors’. The medical community was forced to adapt to this new thought process not because of political correctness, but rather, because it helped them better idenify individuals at risk of HIV/AIDS. This helped them keep those who were infected healthier for longer periods of time while at the same time preventing new infections. The FDA would be wise to get with the program and stop thinking of blood donors in terms of what group they fit into. Besides, all the blood is screened for various diseases, including HIV, anyway.

  13. Russell says

    Today I was humiliated… it’s bad enough that I recently lost my job, it’s worse that I tried to donate plasma for cash today prior to researching this ridiculous prodigiousness.

    After one hour of my physical exam, questioning, photographing, fingerprinting, etc – even though I am completely clean, monogamous, and everything in between – the government states that I am an unable to EVER donate blood, regardless of want or need. Another reason we are NOT the best country in the world.