After recovering from the novel coronavirus, Andy Cohen signed up for a program to donate his antibody-rich blood plasma to help those still fighting COVID-19. But Cohen says he was ultimately turned away, due to the FDA’s “antiquated and discriminatory” restrctions on gay and bisexual men donating blood.
Although the FDA recently relaxed the policy, gay and bi men are still barred from donating blood — and plasma — unless they abstain from sex for three months. But Cohen notes that no such restriction applies to heterosexual people.
“Here’s the thing, this virus is ravaging our planet,” Cohen said Thursday, making a poignant plea at the end of his Bravo show, Watch What Happens Live.
“The FDA says there is an urgent need for plasma from survivors,” he added. “All donated blood is screened for HIV, and a rapid HIV test can be done in 20 minutes or less, so why the three-month rule? Why are members from my community being excluded from helping out, when so many people are sick and dying? Maybe because we’re valuing stigma over science — I don’t know. My blood could save a life, but instead it’s over here boiling. This pandemic has forced us to adapt in many ways. We’re quarantining, we’re social-distancing, we’re wearing masks. Why can’t we adapt when it comes to this rule? It is bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is. I’m sitting here wondering what year it is. We need to think about this, and do better.”
For what it’s worth, President Donald Trump recently claimed he had nothing to do with the FDA’s decision to relax the policy. And this week, a group of 20 state attorneys general called on the FDA to rescind it.
Watch Cohen’s plea below.