End Discrimination – Reform Blood Donation Policies!
The United States does not allow blood donations for men who have had sex with another man. This policy is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and bans gay and bisexual men (who have had sex at least once) from donating blood.
Since 2006, the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) have recommended changes to this policy, and “strongly support the use of rational, scientifically-based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among blood donors who engage in similar risk activities.” You can read more about their position and recommendations on the AABB website.
In June 2010, the FDA voted against the recommended changes to this policy.
On November 7, 2011 England, Scotland and Wales had lifted the permanent ban and placed a deferral period for men who have had sex with another man in the last 12 months. While this is a welcome improvement from across the pond, many claim it is still discriminatory. Fergus Walsh, a medical correspondent with the BBC points out that the test period for HIV is 9 to 15 days depending on the test. The Liberal Democrats party (UK) claim it isn’t enough, they explain that men who have had safe sex in the last 12 months are unfairly banned.
Along with England, Scotland and Wales, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, Japan and Sweden all have one year deferral periods. In contrast, South Africa has a six month deferral period.
The shining beacons are Spain, Italy and France who do not screen for men having sex with other men, but rather screen high-risk sexual behaviors.
A great report on reforming the US Blood Donation policies has been compiled by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 2010, you can read it here.
For more information visit our Frequently Asked Questions page!