FDA: Gay Men Should Be Able to Donate Blood - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FDA: Gay Men Should Be Able to Donate Blood

. - A new policy could soon allow gay men to donate blood.
 
The F-D-A is recommending a lift of the long time ban that was put into place in 1983 when AIDS was making headlines for
the first time in the U-S.
 
It's a move that The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says will not risk the nation's blood supply.

 "This was really about discrimination and the ending of this policy is another great victory in our fight against discrimination," said
Steve Newsome, with the Human Rights Campaign.
 
Steve Newsome is with the Human Rights Campaign and says today's announcement means something to him on a personal level.
 
"Since I discovered who I was actually taken out of giving blood. I wasn't able to do it when I'd given for so long. So I'm happy to see
that I now have the possibility to give blood in the future," said Newsome.

Medical experts say that advances in HIV testing make it acceptable to ditch the ban. But the policy isn't quite equal for heterosexual
and homosexual men. All gay men must abstain from sex with a man for a year before donating.
 
"Quite frankly it is an offensive provision but for today the announcement of this decision is a step in the right direction," said Newsome.

 "Very similar for people who travel into malarial zones, either for work or business, or pleasure they would have to wait one year. Again
it's not ideal, but it is a step in the right direction," said Alecia Lipton with UC's Hoxworth Blood Center.
 
Alecia Lipton with U-C's Hoxworth Blood Center says their organization along with national groups including the American Red Cross have
championed the FDA for years to re-visit this ban.
 
Lipton says early estimates show that with blood from gay donors, the donor base would increase by as much as four percent.
 
"4 percent doesn't sound like a whole lot but when you look at Hoxworth Blood Center where we average about 80,000 units of blood a year,
that would be an additional 3,200 units, that could make a world of difference," said Lipton.

The US will join other countries including Australia, Japan, and Great Britain if this is approved. The FDA is expected to announce a new program that monitors the effects of this policy change sometime next year.
 
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