US Lawmakers Relax Laws On LGBTQ+ Men Donating Blood
America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relaxed its rules on LGBTQ+ men donating blood with the country being in ‘urgent’ need of blood.
It announced the news yesterday, April 2, and stated the reasoning behind its decision was due to the urgent need of blood following the ongoing pandemic.
In December 2015, the FDA implemented the rule that men who had had sex with another man would have to wait 12 months before donating blood – they have now changed this to three months.
The same rule applied to women who may have had sex with a bisexual man; they also had to wait 12 months before donating blood. This, however, has now been changed to three months as well.
In a statement, the FDA said:
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges to the U.S. blood supply. Donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives.
Maintaining an adequate blood supply is vital to public health. Blood donors help patients of all ages – accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those battling cancer and other life-threatening conditions. The American Red Cross estimates that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. […]
At the FDA, we want to do everything we can to encourage more blood donations, which includes revisiting and updating some of our existing policies to help ensure we have an adequate blood supply, while still protecting the safety of our nation’s blood supply.
Based on recently completed studies and epidemiologic data, the FDA has concluded that current policies regarding certain donor eligibility criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply. Therefore, the FDA is revising recommendations in several guidances regarding blood donor eligibility.
The changes are being implemented straight away and are expected to remain in place until the pandemic ends.
While some people have seen this as good news, some members of the LGBTQ+ have dubbed it not good enough and still class it as discrimination.
One person tweeted that, ‘They need to just remove this timeline ban for LGBTQ+ men and test blood all donated blood’, which received 3,600 likes.
Another person tweeted:
Wow- in this day & age it’s insane 2 limit the ability 2 help save lives by ascribing a disqualifying risk factor 2 a subset of the population because of their sexual orientation -If I needed blood I’d appreciate the generosity of anyone willing (donations still get screened wtf)
This rule was implemented in the UK in 2017 as long as those donating blood met ‘other donation rules’.
The 12 month rule was formerly applied to men who have had sexual activity with another man, commercial sex workers and people who have sex with partners in groups before being dropped to three months.
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