- May 12, 2015
Today, HRC responded to the release of draft guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a long-awaited change to the current scientifically unwarranted blood donation ban on gay and bisexual men. The draft guidance released today outlines the implementation of a deferral based policy utilizing a one year period of abstinence from same-sex sexual activity for men.
The change in policy was originally announced in December of last year. The draft guidance released today also clarifies that the gender of donors will be "self-identified and self-reported." It also notes that, "In instances where a donor has asserted a change in gender identification, medical directors may exercise discretion with regard to donor eligibility."
"While the new policy is a step in the right direction toward an ideal policy that reflects the best scientific research, it still falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply. It simply cannot be justified in light of current scientific research and updated blood screening technology. We are committed to working towards an eventual outcome that both minimizes risk to the blood supply and treats gay and bisexual men with the respect they deserve.”
The American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers, and the American Association of Blood Banks have characterized the blood ban as medically and scientifically unwarranted as far back as 2006. HRC has been actively engaged for many years in working with the Administration, Congress, and other stakeholders to end the outdated policy banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood.