April 17, 2012

Should Gay Men Be Able to Donate Blood?

Laura Ungar, Washington Post


AP Photo

Raymond Robbins was ready to roll up his sleeve and give blood for the first time when a question asked of potential donors stopped him cold:

“From 1977 to the present, have you had sexual contact with another male, even once?”

“I answered yes, but I was caught off guard by the question,” said Robbins, 28, of Washington.

His answer got him turned away, stopped by a longstanding Food and Drug Administration policy that bans sexually active gay men from ever donating blood. The federal ban, now three decades old, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as HIV detection tests and procedures for screening donated blood have improved greatly and blood shortages have become common.

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TAGGED: HIV, Donating Blood, FDA, Homosexuality

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