With the global coronavirus pandemic not looking to slow down anytime soon, a blood shortage isn’t something that you want to happen. But this is precisely what happened because fears about the virus have driven down blood drives.
In a bid to boost the blood supply, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed the guidelines governing queer men and blood donations. While previous guidelines barred them from donating unless they abstained from sexual activity for 12 months, the new rules now require only three months of abstinence.
As reported by Out, the change comes from pressure applied by politicians and organizations like GLAAD on the FDA to relax these rules especially in the face of a global pandemic.
For instance, Democratic Representatives Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney have called on the FDA to revise this policy, saying that the 12-month guideline is “antiquated” and “not based on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation’s blood supply.”
GLAAD also came up with a petition made up of 20,000 signatures calling for the change in the guidelines.
The need to change these rules became even more apparent because of the coronavirus pandemic. People who have recovered from COVID-19 can donate their plasma and its antibodies so that they can be injected into those in critical condition because of the illness. However, the restriction has barred queer men from helping out.
This happened to 39-year-old gay man Sabri Ben-Achour. After recovering from COVID-19, he volunteered to donate his plasma and the antibodies in it to help out other patients but was prevented from doing so by the FDA regulations.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, called the decision “a victory” and “a step towards being more in line with science.”
In this time of pandemic, giving blood is something that we can all do to help.
If you are a queer man in the United States who has recovered from COVID-19 and fit the new FDA regulations for donating blood, you can use the AABB Blood Bank locator to find out the nearest place where you can donate.
For queer men in Canada that fit the country’s guidelines for donating blood, you can use the Canadian Blood Services website to find a donor centre near you.
Elsewhere in the world, you can visit and donate blood at your local chapters of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
Gay men giving blood
It seems to me that the people who write these laws about gay men giving blood are themselves out there having sex with other men behind their wives back and giving blood at the same time. Hypocrites abound in this society. If you have any doubts, I’ve been with many “straight men” over the years and If I’m doing it, there are thousands of other gay men doing the same thing.
Ditto, I don’t know what it is, well, I do really, I meet more bi’s lately, blk-wht, well-to-do, etc., its pretty laughable.
Donated plasma from recovered CV19 patients is “washed” before being used experimentally. That probably means POZ, especially viral/suppressed POZ can donate without HIV transmission. That would be great news GLAAD is an “above the line” Hollywood club, an unreliable partner in LGBT civil rights, and not a reliable source of information of a medical nature. They have every right to speak out. I just don’t find GLAAD credible. Stigma is not identical to rational concerns. In fact, stigma masks science and our shared humanity. Let anyone who simply says “We ought to be able to donate blood / plasma, too”… Read more »
What length of abstinence is required of straight people? This decision is NOT a cause for celebration. It’s still discrimination.
Agreed!! When they need something from US(LGBT Community) the’ll change their rulesto fit their own selfish needs!
Definitely still discrimination!!
Three months…still antiquated, but it’s a step in the right direction so…small victories? Previous reports have mentioned that you also couldn’t take PrEP for a year. I wonder if that’s moved to three months as well. Either way, why is it that a straight man can go out and have sex with eight women in the last week, and a gay man can have one monogamous partner for years and he’s considered to be at a higher risk?