The United States Food and Drug Administration didn’t listen to the Red Cross or other blood groups upholding the 1983 ruling that gays are banned from donating blood for life.
The original ruling was in the beginning of the AIDS crisis when little was known about the disease. Before giving blood a man is asked if he has had sex even once with another man since 1977. If the answer is yes then he is banned from donating blood for life. The Red Cross and other blood services have suggested one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. That was ruled out on Wednesday.
“I am disappointed, I must confess,” said Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of America’s Blood Centers, whose members provide nearly half the nation’s blood supply.
The FDA says that although the HIV testing is almost 100% accurate there would always be the chance that infected blood could be taken. Anyone who’s used intravenous drugs or been paid for sex also is permanently barred from donating blood.
The same ruling also applies to Canadian blood services.