Task Force: End the archaic FDA blood ban now

June 09, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
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WASHINGTON, June 9 — At a press conference today, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called for an end to the Food and Drug Administration's lifetime ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977.

At its June 10-11 meeting, the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability will review the FDA's decades-long ban. It is estimated that 219,000 more pints of blood could be available annually if the blanket ban is lifted.

The Task Force and nearly 50 other groups have signed a joint letter to the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability saying "it is our opinion that this lifetime deferral for men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood is outdated and discriminatory and we strongly urge the Advisory Committee to recommend a revision of this policy."

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The lifting of the lifetime ban on blood donations from all men who have sex with men will remove a federally sanctioned stigma and send a strong, clear message that this systemic, blatant and blanket discrimination will not be tolerated. The most critical issue is to ensure that the blood supply is safe and abundant, and this means maximizing the potential donor pool and making sure all donors are screened appropriately and assessed based on actual behavioral risk independent of their sexual orientation. It is long past time to end this archaic, knee-jerk practice and replace it with a fair, humane and sensible blood donor policy. Lives will be saved when this ban ends."

Download the Task Force's full comments from today's press conference

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.