FDA: Gay Men Still Banned from Donating Blood Over Documented Risk Concerns
By John Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite attempts by pro-homosexual advocates to paint the homosexual lifestyle as just another, normal, and healthy lifestyle choice, the FDA has renewed its 1983 policy that gay men cannot donate blood, due to the high-risk nature of living an active homosexual lifestyle.
This past Wednesday the FDA stated that, despite mounting opposition to the policy, it will for medical reasons continue to uphold its ban on men who live or who have lived an active homosexual life from donating blood.
According to the FDA, the ban is in place because, “A history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for the presence of and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”
The FDA policy relating to homosexual men is unique in its severity. While there is a lengthy list of criteria by which a potential donor may be deferred from donating blood (such as visiting particular African countries), such bans usually expire after a certain period of time. The ban on homosexual men, however, applies to any man who has ever had sex with another man, even once, subsequent to 1977.
The Administration, however, argues that the strictness of the ban is justified, pointing out that the “policy is intended to protect all people who receive blood transfusions from an increased risk of exposure to potentially infected blood and blood products.”
Some, however, are arguing that the FDA’s policy is discriminatory against homosexual men. Arthur Caplan, in an editorial for NBC6 argues that new testing technologies alleviate any fear that patients may contract AIDS by receiving a tainted transfusion. “At one time, long ago, the gay-blood ban may have made sense. But it no longer does,” he said.
“If a man has sex with a high risk woman, he’s allowed back into the donation pool after 12 months,” complained Joel Ginsberg, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. “If he has safe sex with another man, he’s banned for life.”
Recognizing that the area of homosexuality is a controversial realm, however, with pro-homosexual activists on the watch for any signs of discrimination, the FDA responded to accusations of discrimination in its updated official policy in the matter. The “deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor’s sexual orientation,” reads the FDA’s policy.
“Surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that men who have sex with men and would be likely to donate have a HIV prevalence that is at present over 15 fold higher than the general population, and over 2000 fold higher than current repeat blood donors (i.e., those who have been negatively screened and tested) in the USA.”
Dr. Robertson Davenport, who is an associate professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Hospital, agrees with the decision of the FDA. “The data are clear that men who engage in sexual contact with other men, as a whole, have a significantly higher risk of HIV,” he said. “Given our testing is not perfect, we will increase the risk to patients.”
A number of European countries have similar bans pertaining to homosexual man. Canada also forbids homosexual men from donating blood, due to similar concerns.
Read the full text of “FDA Policy on Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men”:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Canada’s Last Taboo: Gay Blood Donation