FDA lifts ban on gay male blood donors

You probably heard the news, but the FDA is lifting its ban on gay/bisexual male blood donors! They finally admit that men who sleep with men are not inherently disgusting! This is wonderful news… kindof: They still will not accept blood from men who have been sexually active in the last year.

I don’t know about you, but to me a year sounds like a long time to be celibate. And what about men in monogamous relationships who have absolutely zero chance of contracting HIV? And what about men who are promiscuous but incredibly careful about being safe? And what about men who only have oral sex? And what about straight couples who have anal sex? And what about the fact that most tests can detect HIV 3 months after exposure? (A year seems like an arbitrary amount of time.) And… well. You get the point. This still seems like a somewhat arbitrary measure.

If instead of banning gay men who have had sex within a year, they asked something like “have you had unprotected anal sex with someone who carries HIV or is at risk of carrying HIV in the last 3 months?” and if they answer “yes” they can be recommended a testing clinic… wouldn’t that remove some of the arbitrariness of asking if you’ve had gay sex within the last year? And wouldn’t that solve the gender-specific nature of the question?

I don’t know; I don’t work in public health.

In any case I think this is a step in the right direction. And it will increase the nation’s blood supply by about 317,000 pints of blood. Vampires rejoice. Think about how much blood that is!

  • It’s about 1,260 barrels.
  • It’s about enough blood to completely fill the oval office.
  • It’s only about 6% of an olympic sized swimming pool. But to be fair, an olympic sized swimming pool full of blood would save a lot of lives.

Yay for blood!

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