50,000 signatures reached
Tell the FDA: End the Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood in the United States. This ban, which is based on fears that are decades old and discounted by science, is contributing to the critical shortage in the American blood supply. It's time for the FDA to reverse their policy and overturn the blanket ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM).
Why is this important?
The Food and Drug Administration still bans blood donation from sexually active gay and bisexual men. This blanket ban places most gay and bisexual men in the highest-risk category -- regardless of whether they are HIV-negative, what safer-sex precautions they take, or how healthy they are. This antiquated policy is a product of fear-based legislating, serves no purpose to protect the public, and must change.
The American Medical Association even opposes these discriminatory and outdated restrictions, and it is long past time for the FDA to update its position as well. Other developed countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan have successfully lifted their ban on donations from gay men -- if they can do it safely, so can we.
Recently, the Red Cross refused to accept donated blood from the Mayor and Vice Mayor of the town of Campbell due to the FDA's policies. Following this and other high-profile incidents, including the refusal of gay donors following the Boston Marathon bombings, me and a bi-partisan, bi-cameral group of my colleagues in Congress have delivered a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking clarification on the department's reassessment of the ban following several studies – the Quarantine Release Error Task Force, the Donor History Questionnaire study, and the REDS-II/REDS-III studies – that indicate normally screened gay, bisexual, and transgender donors do not harm the safety of the blood supply.
As more elected officials join us to support reversing the ban, a strong and visible public show of support for our effort is critical to our effort in pressing the FDA to reverse its outdated policy based on irrational fears. Join us by signing my petition today.
Congressman Mike Honda