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HHS has scheduled hearing on blood donation ban

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Gay rights groups say they will testify before a Department of Health and Human Services advisory committee – about the blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. In 1983, the early days of the AIDS crisis, the FDA banned men who’d had sex with men since 1977 from donating blood. That rule is still in place, and the cutoff year is still 1977.

The Human Rights Campaign says the blanket ban is based on stereotypes, not science. Chief Legislative Counsel Brian Moulton says others who may be at an even higher risk of having contracted HIV don’t face the same penalties.

Moulton: “If a woman has sex with a man that she knows to be HIV positive, she’s deferred from donating for a year from the time of that sexual contact. Still a lengthy deferral, but certainly a lot more reasonable than forever.”

Moulton says HRC will offer testimony at a hearing scheduled for early June – believed to be the first revisiting of the policy since 2006. He says he hopes the FDA will aim its screening procedures at behavior, not simply sexual orientation.

Moulton: “The deferral questionaire should be focused on screening out people who engage in behaviors that very clearly do put them at a greater risk for being HIV positive, and for being HIV positive during a window period where the testing of the blood wouldn’t screen out that positive sample.”

HHS says it is reviewing the FDA’s blanket ban on blood donations from gay men in response to a March letter from seventeen Senators, led by Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry.

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Written by OutQ News staff

May 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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