Democrats call for HHS review of gay blood, organ donations

Democrats are demanding the Obama administration update its policy to allow gay men to donate blood, tissue and organs.

On Monday, a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell asking her to change current policy to allow men who have had sex with other men to donate blood, organs and tissue.

{mosads}The lawmakers said the current ban promotes stereotypes that gay men have HIV and discriminates against them.

“These policies are inconsistent and fail to reflect the advances in HIV detection and the scientific community’s understanding of the virus since the policy was first established,” the letter stated. “It is time that the agency took action.”

The more than 60 lawmakers who signed the letter requested a written update from HHS on the reevaluation of its policies within 30 days.

They wrote that their latest request was prompted by a report that the family of an Iowa teenager was denied to ability to donate their son’s eyes simply because he was gay.

“AJ’s story clearly demonstrates that these outdated policies have real-life consequences, turning away much-needed donations of healthy blood and tissue, even when we face serious shortages,” the lawmakers wrote. “Our current policies have failed to respect his dignity as a young, gay man and have wasted the gift of sight that might have helped someone else.”

Tags Blood donation gay rights Organ donation Sylvia Burwell Tammy Baldwin United States Department of Health and Human Services

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