United States overturned its 30-year ban on blood donations by gay men
Gay men can now donate 12 months after their last sexual encounter with another man.
The Food and Drug Administration said its decision to reverse the policy was based on scientific developments which show that an indefinite ban is not necessary to prevent the spread of HIV.
“Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the U.S. population,” Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s biologics division, said in a statement.
The FDA first proposed the changes in May 2015. It received approximately 700 public comments, of which half recommended keeping the ban in place.
Ireland still prevents male homosexuals from giving blood – a rule that was introduced in 1985. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) said it would be in favour of introducing this one-year deferral period.
However, Gay rights advocates say the updated policy is still unfair.
“It is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship can’t give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite sex partners in the last year can,” said Jared Polis, a Democratic congressman and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
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