Coons: Banning gays from blood donation is unfair ‘relic’

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Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) called on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) to change its rule prohibiting gay men from donating blood.

“The ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men is a relic of an era when testing for HIV wasn’t reliable or practical,” Coons said. “It was built on a fear that, decades later, simply reinforces an unfair and unjust stigma against gay and bisexual men. Our laws need to catch up to our science.”

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The ban has been in place since 1983, but some lawmakers point out that heterosexual blood donors have higher AIDs and HIV rates and systems are in place at blood banks to screen all blood donations.

Coons said the FDA should end its “discriminatory ban” and allow the gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

“Rather than broadly discriminating against men based on whom they love, the FDA should instead be requiring screenings on an individual basis,” Coons said. “Discriminatory laws and rules based on outdated fears should have no place in this country. I will continue to urge the FDA to lift this needless, discriminatory ban.”

Coons’ comments came after the second-annual National Gay Blood Drive, where gay men get heterosexual men to donate blood in their place.