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Larry Wilmore Isn't Buying the FDA's New Blood Donor Policy Forcing Gay Men to Stay Celibate for One Year: VIDEO

Wilmore

On Thursday's The Nightly Show, host Larry Wilmore had a bone to pick with the FDA's proposed guidelines to update its blood donation policies and allow gay and bisexual men to donate as long as they refrain from having sex for a year. 

"A year? They're gay men, not the Unsullied!" Wilmore exclaimed in reference to the elite warrior-eunuchs on HBO's Game of Thrones.

Wilmore2Later, Wilmore invited on 'Bag of Blood' for more perspective on the controversy. 

"I don't think they thought this through, this would be torture." said the bag. "A bunch of light-headed gay men who haven't had sex for a year lying down next to each other on a bus? That's Grindr on wheels."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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EU Court Rules In Favor Of Easing Gay And Bisexual Blood Donation Restrictions

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An EU court of justice ruled in favor of easing restrictions that keep gay and bisexual men from donating blood reports expatica.com. The court reviewed the case of a French gay man who protested the ban on his blood in 2009 and came to the conclusion that a French blood ban introduced in 1983 during the HIV/AIDS crisis potentially violates EU's principle of "non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." However, the court also ruled that a ban against "high risk" men may be justified depending on the situation:

"It must be established whether those persons are at a high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases, such as HIV, and that there are no effective detection techniques or less onerous methods for ensuring a high level of health protection for recipients."

The EU court noted that if new testing methods can guarantee donated blood is free of infectious disease, then a ban may no longer be necessary. The French government reviewed a proposal to end the ban in April with many LGBT activists saying the blood ban stigmatizes the homosexual community. 

Britain ceased its ban in 2011 and the U.S. followed suit late last year but with the stipulation that men donating blood remain abstinent for a full year. LGBT activists have called the stipulation unrealistic and garnered the attention of U.S. politicians who are urging the Federal Drug Administration to develop concrete policies based on reputable science.


Alan Cumming Challenges Gay Men to Be Celibate for One Year: VIDEO

Cumming

Alan Cumming challenges you to take the Celibacy Challenge: 365 days of no sex so you can comply with the FDA regulations that forbid sexually-active men from donating blood.

After all there are so many things you can do instead.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Alan Cumming Challenges Gay Men to Be Celibate for One Year: VIDEO" »


Sen. Elizabeth Warren Challenges FDA Gay Blood Ban: 'Have the Courage to Set Policies Based on Science'

1069185_10151577989208687_1095263248_nLast week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) again spoke out against the FDA's new blood donation policy —  accepting blood from gay men, but only those who have been abstinent for at least one year.

Through Twitter, Warren called for concrete, alternative methods of ensuring blood safety, challenging the FDA to shake up the status quo.

Here's the Tweet:

This statement is in line with the recent letter, signed by 80 congressional Democrats including Warren, which called for "risk-based blood donation policy," and stated:

The pertinent scientific question is not whether a cross-section of the population is more likely than another to transmit an infection, but rather whether an across-the-board, risk-based screening will reduce the likelihood of all infectious contaminations.

In related news, the FDA released a statement this week saying it had considered individual self-assessments, but did not find them reliable:

"Assessment of high-risk sexual behaviors would be highly burdensome on blood donation establishments and potentially offensive to donors." 

John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog has some colorful commentary on the FDA's recent response:

So to recap, the FDA believes that a total stranger asking a man if he’s gay — a highly personal, and for some embarrassing, admission that could get you fired from your job, and disowned by your family — is not “offensive.”

Nor is it offensive to ask a gay man when the last time is he screwed another guy.

But if you ask a straight man whether he’s monogamous, how non-monogamous he is (how many different partners he’s had), and whether he use condoms during intercourse, suddenly the FDA becomes a collective prude.

I try not to over-use the word “homophobia.” But the FDA’s response to this mess is deplorable, offensive, and homophobic.

What do you think of the one-year deferral policy and the FDA's handling of the situation?


80 Congressional Democrats Call Bull On One Year Gay Blood Deferral, Urge Obama Administration To Lift Ban

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Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, along with 78 other congressional Democrats, urged the Obama Administration to lift the ban on gay men donating blood on Monday, calling the 1983 policy archaic and a scientifically unjustified barrier reports BuzzFeedThe two lawmakers wrote a detailed letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell.

BloodThe lawmakers' request comes after the FDA reaffirmed that it will not repeal the longstanding ban on gay blood. The request also addresses the recommendation by the Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood & Tissue Safety & Availability's relaxation on the lifetime ban to instead ban donations from men who have had sex with men in the previous year. However, the lawmakers believe both policies are unfair saying, "both policies are discriminatory, and both approaches are unacceptable.”

In the letter the lawmakers request that the ban should be replaced with a "risk-based blood donation policy.” The most poignant part of the letter addresses the common objection of gay men donating blood; that gay men tend to be higher carriers of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Said lawmakers:

“The pertinent scientific question is not whether a cross-section of the population is more likely than another to transmit an infection, but rather whether an across-the-board, risk-based screening will reduce the likelihood of all infectious contaminations.”

Two other letters were addressed in the past concerning the ban however, the latest letter explicitly lays out the lawmakers’ policy platform and asks Secretary Burwell several pointed questions. The prominent question is will Burwell "Commit to replacing the lifetime deferral policy by the end of 2014?" And if a blood-screening network is established, when would it be functional, and would it need to be up and running to roll back the ban?

The lawmakers expect Burwell to address the matter before or on Dec. 22. 

Read the letter below:


FDA's Plan to Lift Gay Blood Donation Ban Hits Dead End

In a blow to equality advocates, the FDA has announced it has no further plans to discuss changing its longstanding ban on gay men donating blood.

The FDA's Blood Products Advisory Committee had met earlier this month amid talks of dropping the ban and switching to a one-year abstinence stipulation for men who have sex with men. 

Buzzfeed reports:

BloodThe announcement frustrated LGBT advocates who said the unilateral ban on blood donations unfairly stigmatizes gay men. Now advocates are looking to bypass the FDA advisory panel by pressuring upper tiers of the Obama Administration.

In that vein, some 80 members of Congress plan to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to change the policy in a letter Monday that will describe the ban as unscientific and outdated, congressional staffers told BuzzFeed News. They said the letter will argue that donors’ risky behaviors, whether gay or straight, should be the test of whether they can give blood, not sexual orientation.

American Civil Liberties Union legislative representative Ian Thompson said the comittee’s inaction appears to be a “deliberate” decision. “Ideally they would have removed sexual orientation entirely from the donor criteria and moved to a risk-based screening process. That is obviously not what they have chosen to do.”

Buzzfeed adds that Senator Elizabeth Warren is spearheading efforts to send a letter next week to more than six-dozen congresspeople asking the HHS secretary to replace the ban with a risk-based policy.


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