Back in the day, when AIDS was called the “gay plague,” and Tom Hanks didn’t have an Oscar, the FDA placed a ban on blood donations from gay people.
It was an ignorant, bigoted ban that blamed the very real public health concerns over blood that had not been screened for HIV on a community that was being victimized by the disease.
Technology improved. Science won. Blood is now screened for HIV (and a bunch of other things) before it is made available.
But still, the ban remains in place. The FDA “softened” the guideline last year, but as it stands the gay or bisexual men are still not supposed to give blood if they’ve had sex in the past year.
Then, Orlando happened. And a lot of gay men people found that they could not donate blood to help their friends and victims of the tragedy.
That might have been the last straw for this rule that was never fair and was obviated by science over a decade ago. From NBC News:
The Food and Drug Administration, under pressure from Democrats in Congress, started official reconsideration on Tuesday of its policy limiting blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
The FDA began seeking comments on a potential change to its policy, which forbids donations from men who have had sex with other men within the past year.
My comment: “It’s about effing time.”