American Medical Association Opposes Gay Blood Ban

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com June 20 2013 12:55 PM ET

During a board meeting Tuesday, the American Medical Association voted to oppose the U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy that has prohibited gay men from donating blood for the past 30 years, reports ABC News.

The ban was originally put into place in 1983 as a response to the AIDS epidemic. Since then, it has become standard practice for all blood donations to be tested for HIV, making the FDA’s ban an outdated policy, according to some experts.

"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member William Kobler said in a statement. "This new policy urges a federal policy change to ensure blood donation bans or deferrals are applied to donors according to their individual level of risk and are not based on sexual orientation alone."

The AMA’s stance on amending the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood in the U.S. falls in line with recent policy changes in other countries. Earlier this year Canadian Blood Services approved a change in policy that would allow gay men to donate blood if they have abstained from having sex with another man for five years prior to their donation. Additionally, other countries such as Australia and the U.K., require only a one-year window of deferral for sexually active gay men, while South Africa requires only a six-month period.