The American Medical Association (AMA) voted Tuesday to oppose a decades long ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which prohibits gay men from donating blood.
The original bad was put in place back in 1983 in response to the AIDS outbreak, according to ABC News, “when little was known about the virus and gay men were more likely to have contracted the virus.”
AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said in a statement,
“The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science.”
Kobler continued on to say,
“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.”
ABC News stated that 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 vice president for America’s Blood Centers, Louis Katz said:
“One option for the FDA is to adopt policies similar to those used abroad.
“In countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, gay men are allowed to donate blood if they have abstained from sex with a man for a certain period of time.”
China lifted their ban on lesbians giving blood and Mexico lifted their ban on gays giving blood.
Other national blood organizations, including the Red Cross have also advocated for lifting the ban according to the New York Daily News.
“In 2010, a group of Democratic senators unsuccessfully lobbied the FDA for its removal.”
Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross told told CBS News that the risk of contracting HIV through donor blood is very low but not nonexistent, with at least half a dozen cases in the past decade according to American Red Cross estimates.
So with the AMA now saying they believe that the ban on gay men giving blood should be lifted, do you think others will either agree or disagree?
[Image via Huffington Post]