The FDA “will likely support” ending the ban on donating blood from sexually active homosexuals, despite blood banks’ difficulties in testing for HIV

In 1983, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration noted furnished a lifetime ban on homosexuals having gay sex since 1977. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, the FDA may soon allow certain homosexuals to share their vital fluids.

what are the details

People believed to be familiar with the FDA’s plans told the Wall Street Journal that homosexuals in monogamous relationships will soon be able to donate blood without giving up sex. The new rules and guidance, which have yet to be finalized, will reportedly be released sometime in the coming months.

The upcoming FDA decision to turn the tap on a new blood source reportedly comes after an agency-funded study of approximately 1,600 sexually active homosexuals was launched to “determine whether a blood donation history questionnaire based on individual risk would be an acceptable alternative to a time-based deferral to reduce HIV risk among gay and bisexual men who donate blood appear”.

Although the study, conducted by the FDA and three of the largest nonprofit blood centers in the US, is ongoing, according to Brian Custer, director of the Vitalant Research Institute, “it produced highly relevant information to envision what an individual risk-based approach would look like.” “

All donors, regardless of their disproportionate likelihood of carrying HIV, must complete a comparable individual risk assessment.

An FDA official said the questionnaire, which is still in draft form, will ask potential blood donors if they have had new sexual partners in the past three months. Those who say no can donate blood.

Those who indicate they were promiscuous are asked to answer whether they had anal sex.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.” Although both participants involved in this sodomy act are at risk, the recipient is at greater risk.

The CDC also found that regular sex “is less risky of contracting HIV than receptive anal sex.”

Anyone who denies anal sex can donate blood. Those who answered yes only have to wait three months before they can donate blood.

The significance of the three month window is that HIV infection would manifest itself during this time.

A risky venture

The Wall Street Journal noted that the FDA’s likely new change will not necessarily be without its risks.

While HIV testing has improved over the years — blood banks can weed out bad blood from long-infected people — no available test currently can detect HIV immediately after infection.

dr Bruce Walker, an infectious disease specialist, told the Wall Street Journal that “with the latest HIV testing, that window is probably no longer than 10 days from the time of exposure.”

The CDC written down that antibody tests, which look for antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood or oral fluid, can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV after exposure.

Antigen/body tests, which look for both HIV antibodies and antigens, can take anywhere from 18 to 90 days after exposure.

Nucleic acid tests (NATs), which look for the actual virus in the blood, “can usually detect HIV 10 to 33 days after exposure.” Although highly sensitive, there have been incidents documented where NATs could not detect infected blood.

Life-Saving “Discrimination”

Gay activist groups like the Human Rights Campaign have long argued that policies banning homosexuals from donating blood are discriminatory, even if they prevent sane homosexuals from getting bad blood.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “It is a completely outdated policy that does not reflect our current ability to test blood for HIV or the medical science surrounding HIV.”

When the initial blood ban was introduced, the purpose was not to discriminate against people, but to save lives.

Marguerita Lightfoot, Director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, said Men’s Health that in the early 1980s “we were still trying to figure out how the virus was transmitted, and all we knew was that this demographic was disproportionately affected.”

That has remained the case to this day.

According to that Kaiser Family Foundation, 13,000 people die from AIDS each year in the United States as of 2018, and more than 700,000 have died nationwide since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection.

As recent rash of monkeypox casesHomosexuals have been disproportionately affected by the spread of the disease.

according to CDCIn 2019, homosexuals accounted for almost 70% of all new HIV diagnoses in the US

Notwithstanding the higher incidence of HIV infection in the demographic, in 2015, the FDA lifted his lifetime ban on homosexuals who donate blood, “amending their recommendation that men who have sex with men (MSM) be postponed indefinitely…to 12 months since last sexual contact with another man.”

Despite its obvious importance, this change was derided by gay activists.

The LGBT activist organization GLAAD posted a video by script reader Alan Cumming on YouTube, in which he poked fun at gay men being able to go without sex for a year.

Kelsey Louie, former CEO of AIDS charity Gay Men’s Health Crisis, praised the 2015 decision to saying“The United States government needs to stop responding to HIV the way it did in the early 1980s. … It’s about time the FDA put in place a policy that was truly based on science, not blanket bans on certain groups of people.”

This 12-month waiting period will likely be shortened to 3 months soon and will only apply to non-monogamous homosexual donors. The FDA “will likely support” ending the ban on donating blood from sexually active homosexuals, despite blood banks’ difficulties in testing for HIV

Laura Coffey

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