Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had finalized their new policy that will allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood only if they haven’t had sex or sexual contact with other men in a year. In June, the National LGBTQ Task Force sent a letter to the FDA calling for a complete lift on the ban of all blood donations by gay and bisexual men.
“The FDA has decided not to bring their policy in line with science and instead continues its longstanding discrimination against gay and bisexual men, people who inject drugs, and people who engage in sex work. The new policy further fuels negative LGBTQ stereotypes and stigma associated with HIV and AIDS as it stops short of fully lifting an antiquated and scientifically unsound ban established in the height of the epidemic—when not enough was known about the virus. The decision is not based on science, but on fear and ignorance. Modern science has developed tremendously in the last thirty years and important safeguards are now in place that accurately screen blood for HIV. We are disappointed and angry that millions of gay and bisexual men, including myself, are still denied the opportunity to donate blood to save another person’s life,” said Russell Roybal, National LGBTQ Task Force’s Deputy Executive Director.
For years, the National LGBTQ Task Force has been calling on the FDA to lift the discriminatory ban that prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating life-saving blood as well as lifting the lifetime bans on survival sex workers and people who inject drugs. Current policy also prohibits many transgender people, of which 11 percent report engaging in survival sex work, from donating blood.
The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. For over forty years, we have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level. www.thetaskforce.org