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FDA to Ease Restriction on Gay Blood Donors

The Feds are moving towards overturning the long time ban on blood donations from bisexual and gay men.  Activists are still concerned with the upcoming change, saying it will still stigmatize “men who have sex with men.”

Lifting the ban will come early next year, modifying the restriction to banning men who have had sex with other men in the last year. “The change would overturn a 31-year-old policy that many medical groups and gay activists say is no longer justified, given advances in HIV testing.”

Activists, however, are not happy about the 12 month restriction.

“Some may believe this is a step forward, but in reality, requiring celibacy for a year is a de facto lifetime ban,” Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a New York-based nonprofit that supports AIDS prevention and care, said after the announcement.

The ban originated from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in a move to protect the blood supply. The American Medical Association says the policy is not longer backed by science.

The agency will recommend the switch in draft guidelines early next year and move to finalize them after taking comments from the public, FDA officials told reporters. FDA Deputy Director Dr. Peter Marks declined to give a timeframe for completing the process but said, “we commit to working as quickly as possible on this issue.”



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