Thursday, June 20, 2013
AMA Opposes Gay Blood Ban
Courtesy ABC News
The American Medical Association voted Tuesday to oppose a decades long ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which prohibits gay men from donating blood.
The FDA ban originated in 1983 in response to the AIDS outbreak, when little was known about the virus and gay men were more likely to have contracted the virus.
However, now that the ban is almost 30 years old, some experts say the policy is outdated. HIV and AIDS testing has become standard practice in blood donations to minimize risk to recipients. According to the FDA's website, approximately 1 in 2 million blood transfusions results in an HIV infection.
"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said in a statement. "This new policy urges a federal policy change to ensure blood donation bans or deferrals are applied to donors according to their individual level of risk and are not based on sexual orientation alone."
The AMA recommends that the FDA change its policy so that gay men are evaluated on an individual level rather than being lumped together in a high-risk category, in addition to crafting a policy that more accurately represents scientific research.