We know that blood donation saves lives. Unfortunately, many people who want to donate blood can’t. While prohibiting blood donation is often justified, it’s time for one such prohibition to change. The HRC Foundation and other groups believe that potential blood donors should be screened based on their relevant behavior, not their sexual orientation. This approach would screen out donations likely to transmit HIV from any donor, while allowing donations from donors whose behavior poses no or negligible blood risk, including gay and bisexual men.
On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign's Foundation (HRCF) and our community partners, we thank you for signing our petition aimed at ending this outdated FDA Ban on all blood donations by men who have sex with men (MSM). This ban is based on outdated science and fails to reflect advances made over the past three decades. HRCF, along with our community partners, thank you for your support as we attempt to draw more attention to this issue.
We will keep you updated with movement on this critical issue as progress develops. Thank you for your commitment to equality.
Revise the FDA Ban on all MSM Blood Donation
We, the undersigned, are participating in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's (HRCF) movement to focus attention to the longstanding Food and Drug Administration policy that essentially bans men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood and urge the Department of Health and Human Services and FDA to revise the ban.The policy, implemented in 1983 when the risk of AIDS from transfusion was first recognized, is based on outdated science and fails to reflect advances made over the past three decades. To ensure a safe blood supply, blood testing and screening techniques must keep pace with the most current scientific methods. It is NOW TIME for the eligibility criteria for blood donation to be consistent with the state of the science as well.In light of these advances, HRC, American Medical Association, American Red Cross, American Association of Blood Banks, and numerous members of congress have called for a reconsideration of the FDA's blood donation policy. In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability has also admitted the ban is 'suboptimal,' because it focuses on sexual orientation, rather than actual risk.Given these facts, we urge HHS and FDA to modernize the criteria for donating blood in the United States and screen potential donors based on their relevant behavior, not their sexual orientation. This approach would screen out donations likely to transmit HIV from any donor, while allowing donations from donors whose behavior poses no or negligible blood risk, including MANY gay and bisexual men.We also call for equitable, evidence-based screening guidelines for donations from transgender individuals, so that they are not refused based solely on gender identity: it is critical that donations from transgender people, like donations from gay and bisexual men, only be refused for sound medical reasons. In addition, we urge HHS and FDA to provide training guidelines to all groups soliciting blood donations who must refuse donations from gay and bisexual men, and transgender individuals, so they may communicate these refusals sensitively, privately, and respectfully.
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