Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

‘Every Drop Counts’ effort calls for end to gay, bi blood donor ban

Equality California launched a campaign Tuesday (October 28) urging federal officials to end the ban on gay and bi men donating blood.

Through “Every Drop Counts,” the statewide LGBT lobbying group is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to lift the prohibition, which was established in 1983.

At that time, EQCA noted in a news release, there was “great fear and little knowledge about HIV or AIDS.” Despite dramatic improvements in knowledge and testing, the ban on blood donations from men who’ve had sex with other men even once since 1977 remains.

“The FDA blood ban is discrimination, pure and simple,” EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur said in the news release. “FDA blood donor eligibility policies should be based on modern scientific research and findings rather than archaic assumptions and fears. Ending this discriminatory ban is a priority for our community and we call on our members, supporters and allies around the country to join EQCA in demanding that the FDA end this ban.”

The American Red Cross, the American Association for Blood Banks, the American Medical Association, and other medical groups want the policy changed, according to EQCA. In August, the nonprofit worked with Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) to advance an assembly joint resolution telling President Barack Obama to pressure Health and Human Services and the FDA to drop the ban.

According to EQCA, the Williams Institute, a think tank based at UCLA’s School of Law, that estimates another 130,150 men would probably donate 219,200 more pints of blood each year if the prohibition were to end. The FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee will examine the issue this year.

EQCA  wants supporters to send letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg urging them to end the ban. The national Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay Blood Drive have also been calling for the policy to be lifted.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 28, 2014 @ 5:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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