FDA now allowing gay men to donate blood

This is from the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

The FDA will seek to change the ban on gay men’s blood, so long as the donor hasn’t had sexual contact in the last year.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a science-based regulatory agency that works to protect and promote the public health. In this role, it is our responsibility to regulate the blood supply and to help ensure its continued safety for the patients who receive these life-saving products,” announces FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.

Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data. Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

This recommended change is consistent with the recommendation of an independent expert advisory panel the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, and will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, in collaboration with the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the FDA has already taken steps to implement a national blood surveillance system that will help the agency monitor the effect of a policy change and further help to ensure the continued safety of the blood supply.

Here’s a story from the CBC about how the blood supply became tainted in Canada. (H/T Patriactionary)

Why is this a problem? Well, gay men are at a much higher risk for HIV, and other sexually-transmitted infections. The CDC released this report about the elevated risks posed by this lifestyle.

The write:

Sixty-two percent of American men who know they are HIV positive continue to have unprotected anal sex, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This data, which was published Friday, came from the federal government’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System.

The percentage of self-aware HIV-positive men who engage in unprotected anal sex has been increasing, according to the CDC. In 2005, 55 percent did so. In 2008, 57 percent did so. And, in 2011, 62 percent did so.

“Unprotected anal sex is a high-risk practice for HIV infection, with receptive anal sex having the highest risk,” said the CDC report. “Unprotected anal sex also places MSM at risk for other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Although condoms can reduce the risk for HIV transmission, they do not eliminate risk and often are not used consistently. Some MSM attempt to decrease their HIV risk by engaging in unprotected sex only with partners perceived to have the same HIV status as their own. However, this practice is risky, especially for HIV-negative MSM, because MSM with HIV might not know or disclose that they are infected and men’s assumptions about the HIV status of their partners can be wrong.”

And in another report:

Teens and young adults now account for more than a quarter of the new cases of HIV identified in the United States annually, and a clear majority of those cases involve young gay or bisexual men, the federal government said in a major new survey Tuesday.

Of the nearly 48,000 new HIV cases identified in the United States in 2010, the latest year for which complete data are available, more than 12,000 involved teens and young adults, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found in its latest report.

About 72 percent of these new HIV cases in younger adults occurred in young men who are gay or bisexual, according to the CDC report.

[…]According to the CDC figures, black youths accounted for the largest share of new HIV cases, with Hispanic youths and white youths accounting for about 20 percent each.

About 1.1 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States. Some 47,129 new HIV cases were identified in 2010.

The CDC’s new report, “Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, Risk Behaviors Among Youths, United States,” estimated that youths aged 13 to 24 accounted for 12,200, or 26 percent, of new HIV infections in 2010.

But, this is what we get when we elect a government that is more in service to ideas of “equality”, “diversity” and “non-discrimination” than common sense. It would be nice to think that the only people who will suffer from this decision are Democrats, but that’s not the way it works.Everyone suffers when we elect people who are led by emotional ideology (the vision of the anointed, as Thomas Sowell calls it) instead of reason and evidence. We get to be the test subjects of their little experiments.

10 thoughts on “FDA now allowing gay men to donate blood”

  1. So gay people are now allow to donate blood but its a problem because of hiv and other sexual diseases that heterosexuals can also contract from one another and even drugs…okay then

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      1. Why shouldn’t gays give blood , i see nothing wrong with it besides, when you are getting blood its not like you’re gonna know who’s blood it is. Teens give blood with parental consent of course,women and men so what the big deal.

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        1. It’s not about those receiving it not wanting to get blood from them just because they’re gay; it’s because their lifestyles tend to make them more likely to contract various diseases from AIDS to hepatitis and more, and that’s not my finding, it’s that of the FDA, Canadian Blood Services, etc.

          It has nothing to do with whether you or anyone else sees anything wrong with it, and everything to do with risk acceptability.

          That’s what’s the ‘big deal’.

          Imagine receiving tainted blood because of improper screening by the government, and contracting a disease.

          It happened up here:

          http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/news/canadas-tainted-blood-scandal

          Preventing that is what matters, not the feelings of gays, or yours either, for that matter.

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          1. Well the blame shouldn’t be on gays but the government for not doing their job. If you have to deal with blood and transfering it from once person to the next i expect you to be very precise and cautious in your work. As a nursing student I have to learn how to draw blood from a person so if i mess up i cant blame it on the patient, its my fault.

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          2. @ WK: You’re welcome. There really is nothing one could say to the victims of tainted blood; ‘sorry’ doesn’t cut it…

            @ CoR: Certainly, the main problem is the government not doing its job. But, it is exacerbated by those who consider this a political issue and not a health one, and who play political football with human lives by arguing against any behaviour-based restrictions whatsoever. They should all be ashamed of themselves, but they are entirely incapable of such a thing as shame.

            It’s not a matter of ‘rude’ to assume; it’s a matter of the data bearing out governments’ contentions that they are medically a higher risk. To hell with your oversensitive feelings.

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    1. I believe the issue hinges on the fact that gay and bisexual men are statistically much, much more likely to contract serious sexually transmitted infections. By all means ChildofRa, please provide some statistics which counter WK’s provided stats or generally further this discussion.

      As for me, I am undecided on precisely how to proceed on this issue. Either way, I think it quite reasonable to say that a high-risk group should be treated differently from a lower-risk group and thoroughly (and frequently) tested prior to giving blood (if that is indeed an option). But complete equivocation sounds kinda crazy to me.

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      1. Well i would hope that anyone who is donating blood whether gay or straight will be tested. As for statistics, I can not find any but I just find it a bit rude to just naturally assume. Also what about lesbians?

        In the statistics hiv for gay men is easily contracted through anal sex ;even through straight people have anal sex too. So what is the statistics for lesbians cause the only ones i saw were on gay males.

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