Gay Men’s Health Crisis to Host Community Discussion
October 14, 2011 by Robin Maril, Senior Legislative Counsel
Gay Men's Health Crisis will host a community discussion this Tuesday to address advocacy efforts aimed at revising the discriminatory blood donation policies for gay men -- a policy set by HHS.
Since 1985, the United States has instituted a lifetime blood donation ban on any man who has had sex with a man, even once, since 1977. Someone who has knowingly engaged in unprotected heterosexual sex with an HIV-positive partner, however, is only banned from donation for one year. This policy presents numerous problems for public health and scientific accuracy, and a similar policy in the UK was recently revised after review.
In June 2010, HHS’s Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability voted to retain the “lifetime deferral” for gay and bisexual men, but also concluded that the current policy is “suboptimal” because it keeps out low-risk gay and bisexual donors while failing to prevent high-risk heterosexual individuals from donating. The Committee recommended further research to support a revised blood donation policy that would increase the number of healthy donors while continuing to protect the safety of the blood supply.
HRC continues to work alongside GMHC to push HHS to revise the current policy and to urge Congress to provide the funding necessary to develop better, fairer blood donation criteria.
The community discussion will be held at 6 p.m. October 18th at GMHC’s new offices at 446 West 33rd Street. For more information, call (212) 367-1016 or visit gmhc.org.
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