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Reps Call For Repeal of Blood Ban


Ten Congress members signed a letter Tuesday demanding that the Food and Drug Administration reexamine its policy barring gay men from donating blood.

The ban, which began in 1985, prohibits any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood, for fear of HIV contamination.

The signers cite the fact that several other countries have changed their policies recently, including Italy Sweden, Argentina, and Japan.

The group of representatives also agrees with the American Medical Association's proposal to change the lifetime deferral policy to a five-year deferral policy. They also mention that America's Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, and the AABB suggested a deferral period for gay and bisexual men to be 12 months back in March 2006.

"For many individuals this permanent ban is seen as unfair, discriminatory and serving to simply perpetuate the negative stereotype that all men who have sex with men are HIV positive," they wrote.

The letter was signed by representatives Mike Quigley (Ill., pictured), Jared Polis (Colo.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Diane E. Watson (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Sam Farr (Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Michael M. Honda (Calif.), and Raul M. Grijalva (Ariz.).

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