Should the FDA Allow Gay Men to Donate Blood?

Experts weigh in on a controversial Food and Drug Administration ban on gay men donating blood.

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Eight million U.S. donors give blood each year, according to the Red Cross, but demand outpaces supply. The Food and Drug Administration prohibits gay men from donating blood. Critics say the ban bars safe donors from giving, but advocates argue that the policy should not be changed hastily. Should the FDA allow gay men to donate blood?
Edited by Robert Schlesinger


Mike Quigley
Illinois Democrat, sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

The current policy has been in place since the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s, when health officials banned for life any man who has had sex with a man—even once—since 1977 from donating blood. In the 25 years since, we have seen vast advances in blood screening technology, policy changes in other nations, and staunch opposition from the...



Mark Skinner
Washington-based attorney and president of the World Federation of Hemophilia

The Department of Health and Human Services' blood advisory committee has concluded that current donor deferral policies are suboptimal. But the committee also correctly noted that the available scientific data are inadequate to support a change to a specific alternative policy at this time and instead recommended a critical review to...


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