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FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

 | Breaking News Updates

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are under increasing pressure to change a rule that prevents some gay and bisexual men from donating blood, which dates back to the AIDS epidemic in the 80s.

A group of 22 US senators, along with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have signed a letter asking the companies to lift the rule which they say is “discriminatory and wrong”.

The name comes as the American Red Cross warns the country faces a “bloody catastrophe” due to declining levels of donations attributable to the pandemic. The group finds that some hospitals and donation centers only have a day’s worth of blood available.

Rules about men who have had sex with men (MSM) donating blood date back to the 1980s in the United States. While restrictions have been eased in recent times, an MSM who had sex with someone three months ago – or a woman who had sex with an MSM during that interval – are currently prohibited from donating blood.

A group of twenty-two senators are calling on the FDA and HHS to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood. Earlier this week, the Red Cross announced that the United States was facing a “blood catastrophe”, with some hospitals and blood establishments having only a day’s worth of blood available. Blood donations have dropped by 10% since the start of the pandemic. Pictured: A lady from Los Angeles, California donates blood on December 13

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

 | Breaking News Updates

The senators called the restrictions on gay men donating blood “discriminatory and wrong”. Currently, an MSM, a person who has sex with different men, is generally not allowed to donate blood within three months of their last sexual activity. Gay rights advocates argue that the declining prevalence of HIV/AIDS and the preventative measures available for the diseases make it safe for gay men to donate blood. Pictured: Gay rights activists on a march organized by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group

“While no single resolution can fully resolve these challenges, the FDA has the opportunity to take one simple, science-based step to significantly improve the donor base and help address this disaster,” the letter states.

“…any coverage that continues to categorically identify the LGBTQ+ group is discriminatory and misguided.”

Earlier this week, the Red Cross said the United States was in the midst of a “bloody disaster” due to declining donations.

The group finds that there has been a ten percent discount on all donations since the COVID-19 pandemic began in America in March 2020.

Schools and universities generally function as essential parts of blood donation campaigns, but the total number of campaigns in educational services has dropped by 62% during the pandemic.

Many other blood drives have been canceled due to staffing issues, according to the Red Cross, as the blood donation industry has faced many similar issues to the rest of America.

“At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are facing pandemic challenges, the Red Cross is not entirely different,” she wrote in a press release.

Currently, any MSM who has been active in the last three months is not allowed to donate blood. They are a far cry from the application of a mandatory screening that people complete before donating in America.

“Given advances in blood screening and safety expertise, temporal coverage for gay and bisexual men should not be scientifically sound, continues to successfully exclude an entire group of individuals, and does not answer not to the urgent calls of the second,’ says the letter.

Blood donation restrictions for MSM date back to 1983 in America. At the time, HIV and AIDS were new diseases plaguing gay men, although the world did not have a solid understanding of these diseases.

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

 | Breaking News Updates

“Given advances in blood screening and safety expertise, temporal coverage for gay and bisexual men should not be scientifically sound, continues to successfully exclude an entire group of individuals, and does not answer not to the urgent appeals of the second,’ reads the senators’ letter to the FDA and HHS.(file photo)

A high stigma was placed on gay men at this time, and fears that HIV and AIDS were entering the bloodstream led to restrictions being put in place.

The prevalence of HIV has declined significantly over time, although as people are now more aware of how to prevent it, and many developed countries now have access to expertise that helps prevent transmission of the virus .

“With high use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which greatly reduces the risk of an HIV-negative person acquiring HIV, many more gay and bisexual men are aware of their HIV status and are taking steps to eliminate their threat. personal, ‘the senators’ letter read.

“Instead of the current categorical deferral advice, we should undertake evidence-based insurance policies centered on assessing a person’s threat, not on inaccurate and outdated stereotypes.”

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15,000 Americans died of HIV or AIDS in 2019, a far cry from the peak of more than 40,000 deaths in the late 1980s.

In 2015, the FDA and HHS revised guidelines to allow MSM to donate blood as long as 12 months have passed since their last sexual exercise.

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

 | Breaking News Updates

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

 | Breaking News Updates

When Covid arrived in the United States, many medical professionals immediately feared it would cause blood shortages.

The FDA responded by lowering the window to three months in early April 2020, just weeks after the pandemic began.

Many medical professionals criticized the FDA at the time, although 500 wrote an open letter to companies to remove the restrictions altogether later in April 2020.

Now that the frightening blood shortage has been realized, pressure is mounting on government officials to lift the restrictions.

The FDA and HHS have yet to respond to the letter.

FDA called to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in ‘disaster’

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