HRC submits comments urging HHS to lift lifetime ban on blood donations.
Washington - The Human Rights Campaign - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization - submitted comments in advance of today's meeting of the Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability calling for an end to the ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men. In addition, HRC joined other LGBT and HIV advocacy groups on a letter urging the Committee to revise the current policy, as well as a joint statement with LGBT, HIV and hemophilia organizations expressing our shared commitment to policies that maintain the safety of the blood supply.
The Committee meets today and tomorrow to discuss the scientific rationale for the current policy as well as its societal implications. A full agenda for the meeting, as well as a link to a live webcast of the proceedings, is available at the Committee's website at http://www.hhs.gov/ophs/bloodsafety/advisorycommittee/index.html. HRC's written testimony and other background and resources are available at www.hrc.org/BloodBan.
"The lifetime ban on gay and bisexual blood donors, unsupported by today's scientific understanding of HIV, unnecessarily stigmatizes gay and bisexual men and turns away healthy potential donors that our nation needs," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We urge the Committee to carefully review all the evidence presented and formulate a policy that both protects the security of the blood supply and gives healthy gay and bisexual men the opportunity to help their communities by giving blood."
Under a federal rule adopted in 1983, any man who has had sex with another man since 1977, even once, is banned for life from donating blood. Blood donation policy is set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and agencies that collect blood donations, such as the American Red Cross, are bound by it. For years, HRC has urged the FDA to revise this policy formulated during the height of the AIDS crisis. HRC included lifting the blood donation ban as part of its Blueprint for Positive Change, a series of policy recommendations to the Obama administration. More information at: www.hrc.org/laws-and-elections/11699.htm.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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