Should the FDA Allow Gay Men to Donate Blood?

Readers share their thoughts.

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Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley argued that healthy gay men should not be banned from donating blood; attorney Mark Skinner countered that donor policies must ensure safety above all. Your feedback:

The article "Don't Let Stigma Govern Health" by Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley, a staunch pro-gay rights advocate, appeared based more on his politically correct pro-gay agenda than on actual science. I don't really care who donates the blood that my wife needs to survive, but I do want the donor to be selected on the basis of science and not put at risk possibly because of the political agenda of Rep. Mike Quigley.

ERNEST WADE Loganville, Ga.

Absolutely not! [HIV infection rates among men who have sex with other men are] 44 times the rate of HIV than among other men? 'Nuff said!

DAVID LEFKOWITZ Baltimore

Your article "Science Should Dictate Policy" discusses limitations on gay men donating blood and asks if a scientific policy review should reduce the restriction. You didn't mention that there are hundreds of millions of Europeans and American overseas residents who are also barred for fear they may have "mad cow disease." The restriction includes residents and frequent visitors to the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and France. I suggest that these healthy individuals, myself included, should be included in any policy review with a much higher priority than looking for a politically correct approach to homosexuals.

JONATHAN WAY Manassas, Va.

Low risk gay men present no greater risk than current blood donors. Low risk gay men can be identified who present risks that are no different from other currently suitable men and women donors. These men maintain stable relationships and behavior that keeps them safe just as others do. We have evidence that it's feasible to identify these low risk men from studies of low risk gay male behavior in clinical trials. It is possible to revise the blood donor system and permit donations from this group.

ROBERT REINHARD San Francisco