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FDA relaxes the ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, but with a caveat




Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a preliminary decision to end a 30-year old restriction on blood donations from gay and bisexual men for fear of infecting blood supplies with HIV.
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a preliminary decision to end a 30-year old restriction on blood donations from gay and bisexual men for fear of infecting blood supplies with HIV.
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

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Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a preliminary decision to end a 30-year old restriction on blood donations from gay and bisexual men for fear of infecting blood supplies with HIV.

Monday, they made good on that early decision.

Under the new rules, these men will be allowed to donate blood under the condition that they are HIV free and have not have sex with another man for at least one year.

This puts the U.S. more in line with other countries such as Australia, Japan and the U.K.

The reason that the FDA has not repealed the ban entirely, they say, is that completely lifting the restrictions would increase the transmission of HIV through the blood supplies by 400 percent.

Is not having sex a realistic expectation for gay and bisexual people who want to donate blood? Do gay people see this as a step in the right direction? Or is this an unacceptable decision when the ultimate goal is to lift the ban?

Guest:

Ayako Miyashita, the Inaugural Brian Belt HIV Law and Policy fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA.