HRC Blog

HHS Asks for Input on Study to Modify Gay Blood Ban

The following post comes from HRC Web Editor Eric Cameron:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is calling for input on a new pilot study, aimed at establishing “alternative donor deferral criteria” for gay and bisexual men who hope to give blood.

Gay and bisexual men are currently banned from donating blood or plasma in the United States.

The U.S. blood ban – encompassing any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 – was first enacted in 1985. However, as the HHS points out, “increased effectiveness of donor testing for HIV, [Hepatitis B], syphilis and other infectious agents has greatly enhanced blood safety. As a result, questions have been raised about the need to continue an indefinite deferral of all MSM and whether there could be blood donation by MSM who may not be at increased risk.”

HHS emphasizes that the request for information is for “information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of HHS.

HRC included a recommendation that HHS revise current restrictions on gay and bisexual blood donors as part of the Blueprint for Positive Change, a series of recommendations to the Obama administration on policy and regulatory changes that would improve the lives of LGBT Americans.

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