FDA to Revise Blood Ban, Allow Gay Men to Donate—if They’re Celibate 

December 23, 2014 6:29 PM

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FDA to Revise Blood Ban, Allow Gay Men to Donate—if They’re Celibate 

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will revise its unscientific, discriminatory 31-year-old ban on blood donation from men who have sex with men. Rather than banning such men for life, the FDA will now require that gay and bisexual men be celibate for a full year before donating blood. With this new rule, the FDA has ignored the recommendation of its own expert panel, which felt gay men couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth about their sexual practices. Instead, it has sided with the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, which overwhelmingly supported the one-year deferral policy.

This is, no doubt, a step forward. But it’s a very small one. The one-year deferral policy is still rooted in an outdated, insulting vision of gay men as diseased, promiscuous lechers. A gay man in a decades-long monogamous relationship with his husband will be forbidden from donating blood. So, too...

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