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Health organization campaigns for gay blood donations

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Gay Men's Health Crisis released a report today urging the Food and Drug Administration to abandon a policy preventing men who have had sex with another man even once since 1977 from donating blood.

The FDA currently provides a questionnaire to potential blood donors that asks about current health status, medical history, blood donation history, sexual practices, and drug use.

"A heterosexual donor who has had sex with a knowingly HIV-positive partner 366 days ago would be eligible for donation," says a GMHC press release.

Yet, GMHC noted, a man who has had sex with another man is ineligible to give blood no matter the frequency (or infrequency) of sexual encounters, safe sex practices involved, or how long ago the sex occurred.

"Across the country, we experience critical shortfalls of blood supplies on a consistent basis," said GMHC chief operating officer Janet Weinberg. "Yet only 5% of Americans that are able to donate blood do so. We call on the FDA to reexamine discriminatory policies that categorically exclude potential blood donors, including gay and bisexual men."

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