End the FDA’s blood ban

This is a big week in the push to end the FDA’s ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977. The Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability is meeting on June 10 and 11, and will be reviewing the FDA’s blanket ban policy.

Earlier this week, we joined more than 50 groups that wrote a letter to the members of the Advisory Committee calling for new provisions that would ensure a safe and adequate blood supply but eliminate the current outdated and discriminatory policy:

It is time for the FDA to join the growing consensus from leading public health officials and our nation’s blood banks to revise blood donation policy to one that ensures the safety of our blood supply without unnecessary discrimination.

Take a look at the full letter here.

And this morning, the TF’s Laurie Young, interim director of public policy and government affairs, spoke at a press conference with congressional leaders on the same issue. Her full remarks are available here.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey also released a statement today calling for an end to the ban:

“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.”

Check back later for more from the press conference.