FDA Pressured to Ease Restrictions on Gay Men Amid Historic Shortage Supply of Blood

Inside Edition Staff January 18, 2022, updated January 26, 2022

As blood supply levels hit historic lows, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is being pressured to ease longstanding restrictions on gay or bisexual men donating blood, CBS News reported.

The pressure is coming from Washington as 22 U.S. senators sent a letter to the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services Thursday, urging them to reverse the “discriminatory” rule that requires gay and bisexual men to abstain from sexual activity for three months before donating blood, CBS News reported.

“We must adopt evidence-based policies focused on assessment of an individual’s risk, not inaccurate and antiquated stereotypes,” they wrote.

The senators who penned the letter, which include Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is one of two openly LGBTQ senators, added that “any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong,” according to NBC News.

“Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment,” they added.

Major blood donation collectors like the America’s Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, and the AABB, have raised the alarm as well, HuffPost reported.

“As the medical community continues to express urgency for Americans to donate blood, there is still a discriminatory and unnecessary FDA policy in place that hinders healthy gay and bisexual men, as well as other LGBTQ people, from doing so, many of whom are willing and wanting to donate blood during this health crisis,” GLAAD’s chief communications officer, Rich Ferraro, told HuffPost on Friday.

The news comes as the American Red Cross announced Tuesday America is experiencing a national blood crisis for the first time ever.

The American Red Cross has asked citizens to consider donating blood immediately.

The nation’s blood reserve, which typically holds a five-day supply of blood, has dwindled to a less than one day reserve, CBS News reported.

“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” Dr. Baia Lasky, the medical director for the Red Cross, wrote in a statement. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”

This is a link to the senators’ letter.

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