The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is lifting the nation’s 32-year-old lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, a year after recommending the ban be lifted and replaced with a blood ban on gay men who have had sex with another man in the last year.
The blood ban was put in place in 1983 during the HIV epidemic and disqualified gay and bisexual men from donating their blood if they had engaged in sexual acts with other men after 1977.
Today’s FDA announcement will likely still prevent a large number of gay men from giving blood despite the fact that all blood donations are thoroughly screened before being administered to a recipient.
BREAKING: FDA lifts formal ban on blood donations from gay men. New policy requires year of abstinence.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 21, 2015
The FDA’s new guidance on blood donations, which it says is “backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply,” is non-binding, but blood donation centers tend to follow the FDA’s guidance.