CHICAGO, IL – Attorney General Kwame Raoul and 21 other attorneys general have called on the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to abandon its current blood donation policy that discriminates against gay and bisexual men.
The policy, which bars many of them from donating blood and plasma for three months following their most recent sexual contact, regardless of high-risk behavior, was deemed “outdated” by the coalition. The attorneys general support a risk-based model that would replace the current policy.
Blood transfusions are critical for many life-saving procedures, and with one in every two people in the US needing blood, donations are highly sought after. However, the current policy stigmatizes and prevents many individuals from donating, leading to a blood shortage crisis in the country. The American Red Cross has warned of the worst blood shortage in over a decade, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has made it challenging to hold community events and blood drives.
The FDA introduced a new guidance in January that would eliminate the discriminatory approach and instead use a risk-based analysis to determine the eligibility of all donors. The new policy would apply to all donors, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation. The coalition of attorneys general has expressed support for the proposed change, which would shore up blood supply levels while eliminating stigmatization of LGBTQ+ individuals.