A government health committee Friday recommended not changing the ban on gay men donating blood but also called for new research on alternative policies, citing flaws in the current rules.
Gay men have been prohibited from giving blood since 1985. But momentum to change the ban has grown recently, with advocacy groups, blood-collection organizations and members of Congress calling for the Food and Drug Administration to revise the donation rules.
The safety of the US blood supply is of paramount importance, once that is lost or confidence in it is lost all bets are off.
The American Plasma Users Coalition, representing people who depend on the blood supply to maintain health, urged additional research, forecasting that revisions in the donation rules eventually will be made.
But the coalition’s Mark Skinner also said, “It’s not about blood supply; it’s about blood safety … Ultimately the end-user bears 100 percent of the risk.’’
He said, “The fact that it’s discriminatory does not mean it’s wrong if it’s in the interest of public health.’’
Added Corey Dubin, a hemophiliac infected with HIV from a tainted blood product: “This is daily question of survival.’’
Forgetting the risk to lives for a moment if you want to increase litigation and cost to a healthcare system this is the way to do it.