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HHS Committee Votes to Retain Ban on Gay Blood Donation

After two days of hearings, by a vote of 9-6, the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability has voted against recommending lifting the FDA ban on blood donation by gay men.

Against all science. Outrageous.

The current policy bars any man who has had sex with a man since 1977 from giving blood.

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Comments

  1. If you really want to give blood, you can just lie and still donate. The silly law is just a slap in the face.

    Posted by: Dusty | Jun 11, 2010 5:51:57 PM


  2. Here's an "ACT UP direct action" to consider: Give blood anyway. If you know you're HIV-negative, why not just lie on that one question? It's ridiculous that promiscuous heterosexuals are allowed to give, but queers who practice safe sex are banned.

    Posted by: JimmyJamesPDX | Jun 11, 2010 6:00:34 PM


  3. The HRC has more information. They say the committee didn't feel like they had enough information. They did acknowledge though that the current policy needs to be changed. I'm hoping that means that they just couldn't agree on a criteria for low-risk gay man. Regardless, this isn't over. It's just more stalling.
    http://www.hrc.org/14553.htm

    Posted by: Christopher | Jun 11, 2010 6:03:13 PM


  4. The interesting thing is, the CDC recognizes that 46% of all new HIV cases are in African Americans. Perhaps the FDA should also consider African Americans from donating blood?

    Yeah, ok.

    Posted by: James | Jun 11, 2010 6:11:52 PM


  5. The HRC is just trying to mitigate another epic fail for them.

    The vote was a huge surprise. All the discussions indicated board members were agreeable to changing the current policy. What happened is that people were loath to voice their prejudices but voted them anyway.

    Posted by: Sean | Jun 11, 2010 6:19:13 PM


  6. It might have already been mentioned in response to Brad's post. But MSM are not allowed to donate organs either. We can be organ donors on our drivers licenses, but if they find out a man has had sex with another man since 1977 our organs are disposed of and not given to those in need.

    Posted by: Aric Lane | Jun 11, 2010 6:20:15 PM


  7. Just don't see what the fuss is all about here.

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 11, 2010 6:31:32 PM


  8. I had heard there was a critical shortage in the nation's blood supply. Huh. Guess I heard wrong.

    Posted by: homoDM | Jun 11, 2010 7:34:33 PM


  9. I am type O neg, which means that I'm a universal donor, and cmv neg, which means that my blood can be given to neonates. I gave blood regularly until these rules were put into effect, and then I stopped, because (1) I didn't want to lie, and (2) I would have felt horribly if my blood infected someone. If they changed the rules, I'd go back to regular donation in a heartbeat.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 11, 2010 8:42:24 PM


  10. Apparently I have some sort of rare blood type that the local blood bank is always in need of. I always tell them "I'd love to donate, but I'm not allowed to do so! Sorry!"

    Posted by: Bryan | Jun 11, 2010 8:47:31 PM


  11. well, guess I'll keep all my type O, HIV negative blood for myself

    Posted by: MadM@ | Jun 11, 2010 9:01:22 PM


  12. Has anybody come across the voting records to see which members of the advisory committee voted which way?

    Posted by: Andrew | Jun 11, 2010 9:57:19 PM


  13. Problem is that if they lift the ban and then there is the inevitable HIV scandal that gets traced back to a gay blood donor, the HHS committee members would be in deep trouble!

    That said, I don't feel bad due to this discrimination. It is *my* blood and I'm glad they don't want it - I also wouldn't want to help some stupid sick homophobe with my blood.

    Posted by: galore | Jun 11, 2010 10:15:11 PM


  14. Can you please post a breakdown of the votes? Being outraged is fine and good, but only if we target that outrage in productive ways. We need to be harassing the people who voted against this change, and we need to talk to our own representation to ask why on earth bigots were allowed on this committee.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 11, 2010 11:28:11 PM


  15. Yeah, screw those fat morons!
    Fighting bigotry with more bigotry= awesome!

    Posted by: jayinchicago | Jun 12, 2010 1:50:58 AM


  16. Echoing ColinATL, doesn't the official reason for the ban come down to probability? Current HIV screening will miss only 1 in a million, but if the Red Cross collects 20 million units then statistically you could be exposing up to 20 people? And the lifetime deferral applies to other groups besides MSM, like IV drug users, being paid for sex, or being born in Africa. So is it really a clear case of bigotry?

    I'm not asking that rhetorically, I'm honestly struggling to understand this issue. I'm straight, but 5 years ago blood donated by total strangers saved my life, and I'll forever champion the cause of blood donations. I'd LOVE for another healthy group to be added to the blood supply. I also abhor bigotry, but the FDA argument about simply excluding high risk groups seems legit. What am I missing? Is the FDA overstating the HIV risk for MSM, or understating the efficacy of HIV screening?

    Posted by: poloballs | Jun 12, 2010 3:10:22 AM


  17. I wonder if anyone of these "straight" politicians that have been caught in a "gay" sex scandal have ever given blood.

    Or imagine a famous person dying and the true blood match is a person who has had sex with a man since 1977 and that person say's I cannot give you my blood. You will have to die.

    Not to mention the countless people that just don't check that little box on the information sheet.

    Posted by: Kb | Jun 12, 2010 9:41:48 AM


  18. Poloballs,

    The highly sensitive NAT blood screening has a stated 1 in 2.5 million false negative rate--so you are a little off on that.

    And even with many people who do not know their statuses for sure donating, "the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found no evidence of any HIV transmission related to blood transfusions between 2002 and 2007."
    http://www.healthfinder.gov/news/newsstory.aspx?docID=640056

    People don't tend to avoid air or car travel because crashes sometimes occur. the chance of hiv transmission via blood donation is very, very rare.

    Posted by: jay | Jun 12, 2010 11:07:36 AM


  19. "Assholes.

    And it's not only gay people touched by this, Trans people are also barred from donating blood since we're "gay" too in the eyes of pols. "

    You're wrong. Trans, dykes, virgin fags can all donate blood. It's only if you've had anal sex (gay, straight, bi, rape).
    Funny how we're all upset about not giving blood, but we'll all be first in line to receive good, clean blood should the need arise. Fucking hyprocrites.

    Posted by: Dustin Thu | Jul 21, 2010 11:46:19 AM


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