Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FDA still insists on keeping blood donation "lifetime deferral" for MSM; Andrew Sullivan, HIV, and the green card issue

The “Health & Science” section of the Washington Post today, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, leads off with a disturbing story by Laura Ungar, “FDA still says gay men can’t donate blood”.  Online, the title is more equivocal, “With better HIV tests, should FDA ends its ban on gay men giving blood?”, link here

MSM with even one applicable contact since 1977 are banned.  Lesbians are not.   Lesbians, in fact, have fewer STD’s than active straight women. But  those who have performed sex for money or injected substances are also banned.   But incidents of “one-night-stand” heterosexual encounters don’t disqualify.

The article says that it takes about 12 days after an encounter with HIV for the best antigen tests to detect the virus now.

The FDA still says that MSM have an incidence of HIV infection 200 times that of first time blood donors, and 2000 times that of repeat blood donors.

The FDA calls the ban a “lifetime deferral”, a euphemism.  The Red Cross is on record as favoring re-evaluating and possibly lifting the automatic deferral.

The most recent FDA statement on the matter occurred in February 2012.

Update: April 22

Andrew Sullivan has a story about why it took him 18 years to get a green card: because of the ban on people with HIV on getting green cards, dating back to the 1980s, not repealed until 2008, link here.
This story was presented on Fareed Zakaria's GPS show on CNN today. 

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