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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in December that it would soon reevaluate policies to allow more gay and bisexual men to donate blood, but health and civil rights advocates say the administration still enforces a “heterosexist bias” against transgender donors.
The policy in place since 1983 indefinitely banned men who have had sex with men from donating blood, but after years of lobbying from medical organizations, activists, and politicians, the FDA said the policy would be reevaluated. Later this year, the FDA is expected to officially lift the lifetime ban, and instead enforce a one-year ban following the last time a man had sex with another man, and remained HIV-negative.
Over the decades, the agency has been under increasing pressure to alter its strict stance. The American Medical Association (AMA), for one, declared it “supports the use of rational, scientifically-based blood and tissue donation deferral periods that are fairly and consistently applied to donors according to their level of risk,” but “opposes the current lifetime deferral on blood and tissue donations from men who have sex with men.”
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