"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The FDA's New Blood Ban

Which is what it amounts to. Towleroad has the most complete summary of the situation I've seen so far:

The new changes would finally allow gay men to participate in blood drives provided that they had not engaged in sexual contact with other men for at least a year, however.

Here's the agency's press release, which makes a lot of claims but doesn't quite convince me:

Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data. Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

John Aravosis has a good post with some of the responses, as does Joe Jervis.

I'm usually willing to acknowledge baby steps in the right direction, but there is simply no justification for the FDA's recommended change; of course, there was no justification for the lifetime ban to begin with. From all I've been able to find, the new policy does not reflect current science or accepted procedures for other groups. As HRC noted in its response, "The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and the American Association of Blood Banks have characterized the blood ban as medically and scientifically unwarranted as far back as 2006."

Seems like Obama hasn't been all that successful in weeding out the homophobia in the Executive Branch.

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