Blood Drive Protests FDA Ban on Gay Donors

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In 2010 an FDA Advisory Committee on Blood Safety found that the current ban on gay men as blood donors was "suboptimal" but voted to keep the policy pending further research. The U.S. Health and Human Services is performing additional studies to see what policy revisions should be undertaken.

According to the FDA, men who have sex with men made up 61 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2010. Although HIV testing is performed on all donated blood, there are rare cases where HIV is not detected because the infection too new. According to the FDA there is an HIV risk in 1 out of every 2 million units of donated blood.

After requesting a comment from the FDA regarding on the National Gay Blood Drive, an FDA spokesperson wrote that the "FDA's primary responsibility with regard to blood and blood products is to assure the safety of patients who receive these life-saving products… We applaud the critical contributions made by blood donors and we are sensitive to the concerns of potential donors and other individuals affected by current blood safety policies."

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