Posted By: Jenn Hatcher
Since 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Men who have had sexual contact with men (MSM donors) are deferred by the FDA for life, and every blood bank in the
Every two seconds someone in the
Yezak organized the drive for the first time last year when he was unable to speak to the FDA about the ban for his documentary Second Class Citizens.
"The policy is outdated, and as a result, otherwise eligible gay and bisexual men are unable to contribute to the nation’s blood supply and help save lives,” said Yezak. “In addition, the ban perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes and a negative stigma about the gay male population. The current lifetime deferral focuses on sexual orientation, and we are calling on the FDA to change its policy so that it instead focuses on sexual behavior and individual risk. ”
While hundreds of gay and bisexual men across the country took part in last year’s drive, Yezak was most surprised by participation from a nearly equivalent amount of allies, including lesbian and heterosexual individuals. Inspired by their support and involvement, Yezak decided to once again organize the
“This year, the drive’s goal is to get everyone involved – including our ally donors – to speak with a collective voice,” said Yezak. “Eligible allies can donate in place of the gay and bisexual men who cannot so that we not only raise awareness about the ban but also help contribute to the more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day. We want the FDA to see how our community can benefit the nation’s blood supply, but also see how much we can contribute even when we are banned.”
On the day of the drive, gay and bisexual men will come out to blood donation locations across 60
In conjunction with the
Help us shed a nationwide light on this ban and get blood to those who need it. Watch the
There is a constant need for blood and donors are essential in maintaining an adequate supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood. On July 11, a nationwide blood drive will take place to bring attention to the ban and help save lives. Gay and bisexual men will show their willingness to contribute by bringing allies to donate in their place. This grassroots effort to create change cannot happen without you.
An event was held at the Nebraska Community Blood Bank on Friday. “The primary concern of Nebraska Community Blood Bank, and all blood centers nationwide, is a safe and stable blood supply for our community and our nation” said Jed Gorlin, M.D., Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s Chief Medical Officer and Vice President Medical and Quality Affairs, adding “we rigorously follow all FDA mandates on donor eligibility, and recognize the need to consistently apply scientifically based deferral policies across all prospective blood donors.”
Key Factors Regarding Blood Donor Eligibility
Nebraska Community Blood Bank and all other blood centers are governed by the FDA and are required to follow its mandates. The FDA determines blood donation eligibility which currently includes an indefinite or lifetime deferral for blood donation by MSM—a restriction that has been in place since 1983.
Keeping in strict compliance with FDA mandates to maintain a safe and available blood supply continues to be Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s highest priority.
Nebraska Community Blood Bank and other blood centers nationwide have repeatedly urged the FDA to review and amend its deferral criteria for prospective MSM donors, supporting the use of rational, scientifically-based deferral periods that are applied consistently among donors who engage in similar risk activities. While supporting a change in the MSM deferral period, active MSMs would remain ineligible to donate blood.
Since 2006, AABB,
Current scientific testing is reliable and sensitive, ensuring a low risk of transfusion-transmitted diseases for which donated blood is screened.
Nebraska Community Blood Bank continues to monitor international policy changes (e.g., in
Additional information about Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s donor eligibility guidelines can be found at http://www.ncbb.org/am-i-eligible
To learn more about the FDA’s blood donation policies, visit the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research atww.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/Questionsaboutblood/ucm108186.htm