FDA recommends ending lifetime ban on gay men donating blood

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The Obama administration is calling for the end to a lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, acknowledging that the policy “is perceived by some as discriminatory.”

The Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules on Tuesday that would roll back the ban, though it still restricts gay men from donating blood if they have had sex with another man within a year.

The proposal still marks the country’s biggest step yet toward changing the 30-year-old prohibition.

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Critics of the ban, which was enacted during the national AIDS epidemic in 1983 and last updated in 1992, say it ignores mounds of scientific evidence concluding that blood donations from gay men pose no risk than the greater public if properly screened.

The FDA said in its draft rules that the ban has become less effective over time, admitting that “some individuals knowingly donate despite the deferral."

The agency will now collect public comments on the rule for 60 days. 

The American Medical Association quickly praised the move, releasing a statement that called it “a step in the right direction to end the lifetime ban that prohibits men who have had sex with men (MSM) from ever donating blood.”

Groups such as the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers have also voiced support for the policy change, calling the ban “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

Read the FDA's proposed rules:

FDA HIV Guidance