Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois sent a letter today to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging action on ending the ban on gay men donating blood.
Kerry and Quigley have long sought an end to the ban, enacted in the 1980s in the early days of AIDS. The current law bars any man who's had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood. Kerry and Quigley want the Department of Health to move forward on a new pilot study to review the policy, which many say is unnecessary with the current screening technology available.
"We've been working on this a long time and I applaud [Health and Human Services] Secretary Sebelius for taking this important step toward ending the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, and instead relying on the science of today not the myths of 20 years ago," Kerry said in a statement. "I'm confident that the findings of these new studies will pave the way to get this policy off the books."
Senators from Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, New Hampshire, New York, Hawaii, Vermont, and Alaska cosigned the letter.
Click the next page for the full letter.