The American Medical Association has voted in support of ending the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on gay men donating blood.
Seeing as only 38 percent of the American population is authorized to give blood and because of the high demand of blood in the United States, the FDA has begun to consider allowing gay and bisexual people to donate. The ban was initially enacted in the early 1980s when there was minimal testing for HIV contamination, though scientists have now made significant progress in the area.
According to the FDA, only one in two million blood transfusions result in HIV infection.
"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," said Dr. William Kobler, an AMA board member.
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The AMA has proposed testing each man individually, rather than dismissing the group as a whole. Additionally, the Red Cross has proposed that the FDA follow the standards of Canada and Australia, where a gay man can give blood if he has abstained from sex with a man for a certain period of time.
While American Red Cross vice president, Louis Katz, said the move could be problematic, he insisted that it would be a step forward from the discriminatory policies of the 1980s.