Opinion & Commentary
FDA Should Reconsider Policy Barring MSM From Donating Blood, Editorial Says
June 12, 2007
FDA "appears to have no evidence to justify its differential treatment" of people at increased risk of HIV who want to donate blood, a Washington Post editorial says (Washington Post, 6/12). According to an FDA policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s, men who have sex with men are barred from donating blood regardless of sexual activity, safer-sex practices or HIV status.
The blood donation policy is "considerably stricter" for MSM than for "at-risk heterosexual groups," the editorial says, adding that a "heterosexual who has had sex with a known carrier of HIV ... must wait just a year before being able to donate blood." As "healthy" MSM are "turned away" from donating blood, high school and college campuses in the U.S. are canceling blood drives to "avoid endorsing an event that appears discriminatory," the editorial says, adding, "This modestly threatens local blood supply in the short-term and may prevent youths nationwide from developing the habit of giving blood in the long-term" (Washington Post, 6/12).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.