The Food and Drug Administration posted a request yesterdayfor public comment on its controversial ban against gay men donating blood. As it stands, the law holds that gay men may not donate blood unless they have abstained from sex for at least one year.
The posting states that the FDA will “reevaluate and update blood donor deferral policies as new scientific information becomes available,” indicating that the organization is not set on current restrictions. It also invites public comments “supported by scientific evidence such as data from research, regarding potential blood donor deferral policy options to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.” Major medical organizations have been weighing in on that science for years. The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and American Association of Blood Banks made recommendations in 2006 contending that “that the current lifetime deferral for men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarranted,” a statement they reiterated in 2010.
The complete ban on donations from gay men was relaxed just last December to allow men who have abstained from sex for at least 12 months.