FDA Still Questioning LGBT Blood

Posted on October 26, 2016 by

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Up until 2015, gay and bisexual men were barred from donating blood for life. This was said to prevent the spread of HIV; however, the FDA allowed women who had had intercourse with an HIV-positive man to donate after waiting a year. This created significant controversy in both blood drives and the LGBT community as a whole.

After several organizations were formed to protest these policies, such as Banned4Life, the ban was finally amended. Men could donate a year after their last sexual contact with another man. People celebrated this small victory but kept quiet until the horrific Orlando shooting earlier this year.

Blake Lynch, a former leader of Banned4Life, spoke up.

“As a registered nurse, I know the importance of donated blood. It can save the lives of people with traumatic injuries, and during tragedies like Sunday’s [June 12, 2016], donation centers are stressed and often lack what they need to treat the wounded. But many of the people who felt the tragedy most closely can’t offer their help,” Lynch said.

The FDA’s cautious rejection of gay men is not without past merit. HIV has historically been more prevalent in the gay community. The problem is that the universal ban was accepted long before HIV testing was standard in all blood donation centers. Today, the risk is far less than it was decades ago. Many people who never would have been able to donate before now can easily. Proponents like Lynch argue that the rejection based solely on sexual orientation no longer fits i with the science of modern society.

The issue even touches Fleetwood. The yearly blood drive may not allow healthy young students who fill out the pre-donation questionnaire honestly to help people in need.

Posted in: Aubrey Reed