Basu: Blanket ban on gay men is myopic (DesMoinesRegister)
More than 100,000 units of blood are needed every year, yet only 4 percent of eligible people donate, according to the Blood Center of Iowa. So you'd think all healthy donors would be welcomed. But when a 20-year-old recently organized a blood drive on his Des Moines college campus, he was rejected as a donor. The reason: He's gay.
He had responded honestly when asked, then was told it is policy to reject blood from gay men. Upset and insulted on her son's behalf, his mother contacted me wondering how an entire group can be summarily excluded, when all blood is tested for infection anyway.
Good question. It turns out it's a federal Food and Drug Administration policy to bar male donors who have had sex with another man even once since 1977 - the start of the AIDS epidemic. The ban has been in place since 1992, though the agency earlier recognized the risk of AIDS from transfusion and asked members of high risk groups to voluntarily exclude themselves. In June, a Health and Human Services advisory committee review called the ban on gay men "suboptimal," but members voted nine to six to continue it. It recommended research and changes to donor questionnaires to identify risk levels in all candidates, possibly leading to a future revision.
Complete article at Des Moines Register : http://bit.ly/dNhAGv