Bad blood ban
FDA should allow gays to give blood
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 04:10
A massive blood collection recently took place on the University of Toledo’s campus. But despite the need for blood, some in UT’s community were barred from helping.
Why? Because the Food and Drug Administration bars any man who has participated in any gay sexual act, even once, from giving to blood collection organizations.
The FDA needs to revise its regulation when it comes to the gay community in light of more recent scientific developments.
This regulation is rooted in the prejudicial, fear mongering voice prevalent in the HIV/AIDS scare of the ’80s.
Since then, other countries have lifted this ban, including England, Ireland and Wales. The FDA says “studies are underway” that will lead to a reevaluation, not necessarily a revision, of this policy, according to the Washington Post. The American Red Cross and other blood collection organizations agree that it needs to be revised and suggest that the time between last sexual contact and blood donation should be one year.
All blood given to blood collection organizations are scanned thoroughly before being given to a patient.
Today, we have the technology to ensure the blood given to a patient in need is disease free whether the donor is homosexual or heterosexual. According to the Post, only four known cases of HIV infection have occurred through blood transfusion since 1999.
Advocacy groups such as “redisintherainbow” argue not only is this ban based on outdated science, but a subjective moral judgment.
As activists featured in the Post argue, it’s wrong that a homosexual in a monogamous relationship is banned for life when a heterosexual man who has regular sex with prostitutes has only to wait a year before donating blood again. Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half of the 1.18 million cases of HIV in the U.S. today were spread by homosexual contact.
The FDA says there are other groups who are also barred for similar reasons. But, in the end, the FDA shouldn’t be turning away perfectly good blood, especially when its current policy bars homosexuals based on outdated science and prejudice prevalent in a less informed America.