Gay Blood Donation: How The FDA Can Totally Eliminate The BanBy Marcus Vaflor, UniversityHerald Reporter
In the wake of the Orlando shootings which claimed the lives of 49 people and injured scores more, several members of the LGBT community complained about not being to help out because of the FDA's long-standing ban on gay blood donation.
FDA regulations allow gay men and women to donate blood only after a year of abstaining from sexual contact. While this is an improvement on the total ban which was in place until December 2015, many feel current guidelines are too restrictive.
According to San Francisco and gay activist Scott Wiener, the ban does nothing but "add insult to injury". He said it was absurd for the government to disallow them from helping their brothers and sisters just because they're gay. He added the regulation is unscientific and discriminatory, the Guardian reported.
Defending itself, the FDA said it was basing its waiting period on the results of an Australian study which recommended a 12-month window in order for the donated blood to remain free from HIV. It also announced that it had no plans of changing its policy on gay blood donation for now.
However, experts suggested the 12-month window is not needed anymore since modern testing methods can easily detect HIV in the blood in the span of a few days.
According to Whitman-Walker Senior Health Director Dan Bruner, the FDA's deferral period for potential gay blood donors should be no longer a month at most. He said while the initial HIV test won't reveal a donor's status, the virus will definitely become detectable within 30 days after he comes back for another round of tests, Huffington Post reported.
Others have also told the FDA to update its 12-month window by conducting another study and looking at the results. This way, they can at least take the next step forward and ease their ban on gay blood donation.