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FDA may scrap ban
on gay blood donors

FDA may scrap ban
on gay blood donors

FDA's Blood Products Advisory Committee will review gay ban later this year

The Food and Drug Administration's Blood Products Advisory Committee will consider scrapping its ban on gay blood donors when the committee meets later this year, FDA officials told The Washington Post. Currently, FDA regulations permanently bar all men who've had sex with another man since 1977 from ever donating blood.

But FDA spokesman Stephen King told the Post that the agency will consider lifting the ban now that three major blood industry organizations--the American Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks, and America's Blood Centers--are now saying the lifetime ban is unnecessary. The groups say that because blood-screening methods are much more accurate today than when the ban was initiated in the 1980s, sexually active gay men should be treated the same as members of other high-risk groups and deferred from donating for one year after high-risk activities.

"We strongly support the use of rational, scientifically based deferral policies, and we want them to be applied fairly and consistently," Ryland Dodge, a Red Cross spokesman, told the Post. "All these things come together to make us much more confident that our layers of safety have improved to the point where they should review the policy." (The Advocate)

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