Restrictions on Gay Men Donating Blood Eased by FDA

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has certainly struck blows to the U.S healthcare system, and many hospitals are in short supply of virtually everything. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made some moves on Thursday that could potentially alleviate at least one or two of those blows.

What We Know:

  • According to a report by NBC News, the FDA has reduced its restrictions on gay men donating blood. Initially, gay men had to be abstinent for an entire year before they were eligible to donate blood.
  • That restriction has now been reduced to only 90 days. This decision resulted from the petition GLADD started over a week ago to get the FDA to reduce these restrictions. This was not the only change the FDA made.
  • Restrictions have also been reduced for people who’ve recently gotten tattoos or piercings, in an effort to get more people to donate blood. Many of these restrictions were made during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the ‘80s and ‘90s.
  • Despite unraveling updated information about how long it takes for HIV antibodies to show up in the bloodstream as well as more preventive measures such as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (prEP) being introduced in recent years, these restrictions have long been seen as outdated.

As good a news as old biases being changed is, the grim reality of it taking a pandemic to overturn such restrictions now, really justifies why people were upset to begin with. The common criticism against the FDA not allowing perfectly healthy gay people to donate blood now, shows more than ever during a crisis.