Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) sent a letter signed by 84 other Democratic lawmakers to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling for an end to the blood donation ban as it “continues to perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes against gay and bisexual men and fosters an atmosphere that promotes discrimination.”
God bless you Tammy Baldwin! This is an issue that has such a simple fix it’s almost absurd it’s still an issue. The technology for blood screenings now are fantastic, and if prostitutes can donate blood then I should be able to as well. And that’s exactly what they say in the letter:
“Our current policies turn away healthy, willing donors, even when we face serious blood shortages,” they wrote.
Due to advancements in testing blood for infections, the Health and Human Services Department is considering lifting the ban on blood donations from gay men, but conditionally of course.
“[T]he increased effectiveness of donor testing for [Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)], [Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)], syphilis and other infectious agents has greatly enhanced blood safety,” the department states in the notice, which will be published in the Federal Register Tuesday.
“As a result, questions have been raised about the need to continue an indefinite deferral of all MSM and whether there could be blood donation by MSM who may not be at increased risk.”
As most know, if you’re a man who has had any sort of sexual contact with another man since 1977, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says you can’t donate blood. Period. Well thanks to our friends Senator John Kerry and Congressman Mike Quigley, that is being reconsidered.
In a question and answer document requested by Senator Kerry and Congressman Quigley, HHS laid out four final areas for additional study needed to implement a policy change.
“We’ve been working on this a long time in a serious way and I’m glad Secretary Sebelius responded with concrete steps to finally remove this policy from the books,” said Sen. Kerry. “HHS is doing their due-diligence and we plan to stay focused on the end game – a safe blood supply and an end to this discriminatory ban.”