Cases of COVID-19 infections around the world continue to rise. As per the latest situation report from the World Health Organization, there are now 823,626 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world. The number of dead is at 40,598.
In the United States, the numbers are also stark. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are already 3,603 people dead from the coronavirus in the United States. The number of confirmed cases is at 186,101.
With such dire numbers, one would think that the American government will take any kind of help available. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case as gay men and people who have taken PrEP will be prevented from donating plasma rich with COVID-19 antibodies.
NBC News reports on a case in New York where 39-year-old Sabri Ben-Achour contracted and recovered from COVID-19. When he saw an advertisement for a convalescent plasma study — collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and injecting the antibodies found there into critically-ill patients — he participated right away.
However, a 2015 restriction has prevented him from donating his antibodies to those who may need it. According to this restriction, gay men can only donate blood if they have abstained from sex and PrEP for a year. This was actually a change from the previous lifetime ban that was started in 1983 to keep HIV out of the blood supply.
Ben-Achour asked if he would be allowed to donate blood if he stopped taking PrEP for a month, but he was refused. According to him, not taking PrEP for a year would then put him in danger.
Both the American Red Cross and Democratic senators have called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rethink this regulation as the coronavirus pandemic has driven down blood drives and caused an acute blood shortage, one that could prove disastrous as there is a pandemic going on.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney, both Democratic Representatives, have called on the FDA to revise this policy so that anyone who can safely donate blood can do so.
Adam4Adam blog readers, do you think now is the time for the government to rethink its policy with regards to gay men donating blood? Share your opinions with us in the comments below.