FDA lifts gay blood donation ban

Lots of silly policies were put in place following the AIDS crisis of the 80s. One of them was a lifetime ban on gay blood donation as an attempt to keep HIV out of the blood supply.

For years, though, activists have pointed out that the modern policy is discriminatory toward the gay community, and that modern testing procedures mean that an all-out ban is not necessary to keep the blood banks safe. The FDA finally relented, removing the ban and replacing it with a policy that says gay men can donate, but only after a year of abstinence.

So, how ya gonna check on that, FDA? Should gay men submit their Grindr password as proof? Anal tightness checks? Inspect everyone’s home to see if their Shower Shot has been recently used or stored safely in the back of the kitchen cabinet?

In other words, the policy is almost as dumb as the original ban, but with, somehow, a little more privacy invasion than the original ban.

These days, thanks to Truvada and the success of the PrEP use of the drug, as well as better testing methods, HIV is not the public health menace to the gay community that it was. And with the rise of IV heroin use, especially in places like Indiana, the transmission of HIV is just as likely outside of the gay population than within it.

The year ban does nothing for the public perception that the gay community is somehow more sexually irresponsible than the general public. And it does nothing to help the public perception that HIV is a gay problem, because it simply isn’t anymore.

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