Orlando Shooting Revives Debate over Restricting Blood Donations by Gay Men [August 1, 2016] [open pdf - 128KB]
"Within hours of the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, hundreds of people responded to the call for blood donations to help the injured. Gay men were among those who lined up outside local donation centers. They were motivated by rumors that the regional blood bank OneBlood, which serves the Orlando area, had lifted the decades-old ban on donations from sexually active gay men. The rumors turned out to be untrue, and most of the gay men who showed up were turned away. OneBlood released a statement on social media that the ban had not been suspended. Since the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that men who have sex with men (MSM) be indefinitely deferred (i.e., permanently banned) from donating blood. This action was taken to help control the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the blood supply. Last December, after years of advocacy and debate, FDA issued new industry guidance with revised donor deferral recommendations. The agency recommended reducing the MSM permanent ban to a 12-month deferral. Under the new MSM deferral policy, gay men may not donate if they have had sex with another man within the past year. While the recommendations are nonbinding, all blood banks are implementing them. Gay rights advocates say that while the change is a step in the right direction, it will have limited impact. Sexually active gay men will still be excluded."
CRS Insight, IN10535
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html