The Seattle City Council became the 60th American city to recommend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) change its policy about the lifetime ban against gay and bisexual men donating blood.
In its Wednesday, Aug. 6, letter to the FDA, the council noted the “outdated and discriminatory practice” doesn’t acknowledge the medical science proving that HIV transmission “depends on behavioral risk factors,” not sexual orientation.
Even the Puget Sound Blood Center and the American Medical Association have made similar requests as far back as 2006.
As the FDA’s own website states, “After donation, [all] blood is tested for several infectious diseases.” Since that’s the case, there should be no discriminatory practices in screening for any potential blood donors — even one that rejects people who were born, lived in, traveled to or had sexual relations with anyone from any of eight selected African countries since 1977.
The Puget Sound Blood Center collects about 900 units of blood each day, according to its website, making that supply available to 70 regional hospitals within 24 hours after donation. With more of our population needing medical care every day, it’s vital that we not turn away any likely blood donors.