Ban on Gay Men's Blood Donations Reviewed

WASHINTON, D.C., April 5 (UPI) — The U.S. agency that regulates the nation’s blood supply says it’s reviewing whether to repeal its lifetime ban on donations from gay men.

“We are considering the possibility of pursuing alternative strategies that

maintain blood safety,” a recent Food and Drug Administration statement said.

The ban excludes blood donations by men who have had sex with another man, even one time, since 1977.

The AIDS virus, HIV, can be spread through blood transfusions and gay men were considered more likely to be HIV-infected than the general population.

Increasingly sophisticated tests, however, now can remove many of the doubts about whether a blood donor is HIV positive, The Kansas City Star reported Monday.

Eighteen U.S. senators, led by John Kerry, D-Mass., support repealing the ban and blood bank groups have long called for rolling back the deferral period on donations by gay men to one year after sexual contact with another man.

A year’s deferral is the same period used for people who have had sex with a prostitute or heterosexual contact with a person who is HIV-infected.

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