Updated 10:52 PM EDT, Wed, Jun 23, 2021

FDA Ready to Lift Lifetime Blood Donation Ban on Gay & Bisexual Men - Under These Conditions

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For the past three decades, gay and bisexual men were barred from blood donations in the U.S., much to the dismay of the LGBT community and its supporters. Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now opening its doors and is proposing to lift the ban under their draft guidelines, the LA Times reports.

But, this recommendation is not without any stipulation. These men will be given the chance to donate blood with conditions that they are healthy and have abstained from having sexual relations with other men for a period of at least one year.

The FDA cited the success of the same policy that other countries like Australia, Sweden, Britain, and Japan have already adopted for years.

American Red Cross data shows that in the U.S. alone, the annual collection of blood donations totals 15.7 million, the MedicalNewsToday reports. And, this number is not too staggering when you consider the fact that a person requires blood transfusion every 2 seconds.

There is a one in two million chance of contracting HIV from a blood transfusion say the data. Statistics also show that around seven percent of men in the U. S. have had sex with another man at least once in their lifetime, according to FDA.

FDA cited the importance of self-deferment that can be achieved by providing donor education material, according to NBC News. The resources will give people, should they decide to donate blood, the necessary information they would need such as the risk of HIV transmission by blood and blood products, certain behaviors associated with the risk of HIV infection, and the signs and symptoms associated with HIV infection.

"The donor education material should be presented to donors in a manner they will understand, which may include oral, written, or multimedia formats. The donor education material should instruct the donor not to donate when a risk factor for HIV infection or signs or symptoms of HIV infection are present."

Meanwhile, not all pro-gay activists are entirely convinced and happy about the development. Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign believe that the FDA  should take more concrete actions that would completely eradicate the prejudice that have led to preventing people from donating blood, the MedicalNewsToday also cited.

"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," one of the group's official said.

While the FDA is taking a softer stand on gay people, the government agency is still bent on their view that sex workers and injecting drug users should not be allowed to donate blood.

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