American Medical Association Opposes FDA Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

The American Medical Association voted on Tuesday to oppose the FDA ban on gay men donating blood, ABC News reports:

Blood"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said in a statement. "This new policy urges a federal policy change to ensure blood donation bans or deferrals are applied to donors according to their individual level of risk and are not based on sexual orientation alone."

The AMA recommends that the FDA change its policy so that gay men are evaluated on an individual level rather than being lumped together in a high-risk category, in addition to crafting a policy that more accurately represents scientific research.

Said Robert Valadez, policy analyst for the HIV/AIDS advocacy group Gay Men's Health Crisis: "The policy was formed at a time in our history when we didn't have a name for AIDS or HIV. Our technology has advanced to the point where … it is antiquated to keep this policy in place and to keep those units of blood from entering the blood supply."


  1. Jason says

    At last some common sense and reason – and it’s come from the AMA rather than some stupid gay guy who heads some ‘gay advocacy HIV’ group.

    On the last point, I have to say that I was very disappointed with ‘policy analyst’ Robert Valadez’s incorrect response to the AMA’s vote. Seriously, who appoints these guys? It’s got nothing to do with advanced detecting technologies, Robert. The ban on gay men was always rotten from the beginning. As the AMA said, it lumped all men who had sex with men into the same group.

  2. GregV says

    This is long overdue. At present, if a man travels the country’s fetish club circuit to have anal gang bangs with thousands of women, he can donate, while another healthy and monogamously married man is ineligible because he once got jerked off by his perfectly-healthy college roommate 35 years ago.
    The policy is based on prejudices and perhaps on fear of irrationally-based litigation, but not on anything that would actually protect the health of the blood supply.

  3. Mike Ryan says

    I’ve never considered the ban to be what it is, a slight to the gay community. Instead, I’ve tried to look at it as their loss. Both my parents were big blood donors for much of their lives until the ban on gay people. First my Dad stopped and my mother followed about a year later. If they lifted the ban it would make my parents happy but I’m not so sure I would be the first in line.

  4. David Hearne says

    I’d like to see all high risk people eliminated. The problem of course, is who is high risk and do they consider themselves at high risk.

    The ban on gay men would have made sense if they had also banned black women, right? Aren’t they the second largest group in the US and the largest worldwide in AIDS infection?

    The problem of course, as always, is that reason will not be the focus of how this is played out. It will be seen as political, as putting the health of “THE CHILDREN!!!” at risk to make gay people feel better about themselves. Like it or not, that’s how this will play out.

    My personal experience is that no amount of calm or reason will mitigate the wingnut response to this. Pointing out that hepatitis existed long before AIDS and has killed more people of all stripes doesn’t mean anything to these people. They sincerely believe that there was a magical time before gay people, AIDS, and other current social issues when Jesus reigned supreme and white people could leave their houses with the doors unlocked.

  5. northalabama says

    ban? what ban? all someone has to do is lie to get around this so called ban – how stupid could any ban be?

    i used to donate, and since i’m o-, i used to be heavily solicited to donate. why? because i gave blood in high school before i came out, and lied on the application.

    i now don’t see my ever donating blood to any organization again. they don’t want me? fine, i’ll treat them with the same respect as bigoted organized religion – tell them to go to hell.

  6. Francis #1 says

    Based on rumblings, the FDA, if the ban is eliminated at all, will not be completely eliminated. It will be like a 1-3 year ban as long as a guy has not had sex in that time period or has had sex with only their partner. So basically, the FDA is likely to continue effectively banning gay blood.

    This ban is based on homophobia. That’s common sense and all it comes down to.

  7. says

    I’m O+ and also donated in high school before I was sexually active so I didn’t have to lie on the questionnaire. I’ve gotten calls since then from the local Red Cross about donating again but I’ve always declined as I would have to lie on the questionnaire and because I don’t agree with their policy.

  8. Anita Pill says

    Why not the ban on GLBT people from Federally funded medical research? Unless the research is specific to GLBT health issues e.g., if a women is diagnosed with breast cancer and the PI discovers she’s a lesbian or transsexual they will not accept the patient for the medical trial or drop them from the trail with nothing said, no reason given or they will LIE!

  9. Greling Jackson says

    The FDA would rather you DIE than risk the small change of getting HIV through a blood or organ donation from a gay guy who has consistently test negative and lived monogamous for 20 years, but they see no problem with you getting those donations from someone who had unprotected sex with a prostitute in the last 2 years.

    The FDA would rather you DIE than take a last-minute experimental drug that it hasn’t approved, but see no problem forcing parents to give medical treatment to their children when it goes against their religious beliefs.

    The FDA would rather you DIE than try curing your cancer by smoking weed or using hash oil, but see no problem selling you watered down Marinol pills that don’t have nearly the same effect and cost 100 times more.

    Yep, and it’s gonna get worse as the federal government plays an even larger role in your healthcare decisions in the coming years.

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