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Gay community disappointed: discriminative blood donation policy keeps working

Gay community disappointed: discriminative blood donation policy keeps working


Americans are combating the pandemic by all possible means. General public and authorities are working hard together to overcome the crisis and pave the path to normalcy. However, some urgent problems that arose even before the outbreak hadn't been solved yet.  That is extremely sad, especially when the problem comes to saving people’s lives. Blood bank shortage is among those limiting options for both treatment of patients infected by COVID-19 and developing prospective treatment and vaccine.  While the problem of blood shortage arose, LGBTQ community expressed willingless to contribute to its resolution. Along these lines, FDA has announced immediate policy changes for gay men donating blood (the time for no intercourse should have been reduced from 12 to 3 months).  

We have previously reported about failed attempts of gay men to donate blood AFTER the announcent by FDA. At this point more time was claimed to be required to implement all the changes. Time passed and it turned out that the problem hasn’t been fixed yet.  New York State Senator Brad Hoylman who is out gay has recently tried to donate blood at the New York Blood Center. What’s happened? He has been rejected. Again. Due to outdated policies that are still in use.

“This policy is rooted in homophobia and limits our nation’s supply of blood and plasma, which I know you agree is more crucial than ever for the research and treatment of COVID-19,”

 as Sen. Hoylman put it. The Senator is determined to overwrite the pocity completely.

“In the meantime, I’ll continue to fight for changes to the FDA’s blood donation guidance that prevents most gay and bisexual men from donating blood,”

 reads his statement. The blood center representatives across the country, however, hit back the allegations and blame outdated paperwork and computer systems.  

“When the FDA says the word ‘immediately’ that means something totally different in our world. It takes about three months to implement this stuff but [the FDA] is relying on us to communicate that to the public,”

 says Linda Goelzer from Carter BloodCare in Dallas. It sounds like a dead loop with FDA awaiting action from the blood centers and the latter unable to make a single step without new regulations enacted. At this point the move of Sen. Hoylman is exactly what needed to push the system forward. However, the problem should probably be escalated to the federal level in order to be solved.