Opinion : Reevaluate the FDA Gay Blood Ban - by Evan Low

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Opinion » August 2013

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

15 Years Ago In POZ


More Opinions

Click here for more news

Have an opinion about HIV? Send your thoughts to news@poz.com.


emailprint

August 21, 2013

Reevaluate the FDA Gay Blood Ban

by Evan Low

A gay California mayor wants to stop discrimination against gay men who want to donate blood.

Evan Low
Evan Low

There was a time not too long ago where as mayor, I could officiate a wedding, but could not get married myself. I recall a situation in which the Boy Scouts came to visit a city council meeting in order to earn their merit badge and after the meeting, a boy asked me, "Were you also a Boy Scout—is that how you became mayor?" And most recently, I hosted a blood drive on city property, but was banned from donating blood myself.

As the mayor of Campbell, providing for the welfare of the general public is a top priority. As a gay man, however, I am conflicted in my advocacy for blood drives. Under current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, a man who has sex with another man is deferred for life from donating blood. The ban was imposed in 1983 when there were no reliable tests for screening blood for HIV/AIDS. It was also made during a time of mass medical confusion and cultural homophobia associated with HIV/AIDS. The current FDA ban is wildly outdated and perpetuates unfair labels against gay and bisexual men that live on through decades of discrimination.

Advances in technology and the understanding of HIV/AIDS have come a long way. The fact of the matter is that blood donations are safest and most effective when using rational, scientifically-based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among blood donors who engage in similar risk activities. These screening strategies provide an inclusive, internationally recognized means for keeping blood supplies safe.

In fact, the American Medical Association and the American Red Cross are both in support of a reevaluation of the lifetime ban of gay men from donating blood. And most recently, over 82 Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have asked for the reevaluation.

We are behind in our policies in comparison with other countries. Both Canada and Britain in recent years have lifted their lifetime ban restrictions. Regardless, blood donations save lives, and although I take issue with the FDA's policy, the communal need for an adequate and safe blood supply cannot be ignored. To prevent a blood drive on the grounds of public policy would be to place the citizens of Campbell and my community in danger. Ultimately, public policy can be solved over time, while an unpredictable act of nature can warrant an immediate need for a blood supply.

Although I support blood drives, I will always stay committed to the fight for the rights of all people. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community simply want to be in recognized and committed loving relationships, be able to defend our country in the armed forces to fight for the freedoms that we value, be part of an invaluable institution that gives young boys the skill sets to become contributing members of our society and finally, to be able to sacrifice of themselves and give blood to save another’s life. I firmly believe that the lifetime prohibition on gay and bisexual blood donors will one day exist as a relic of historical discrimination and that there will be a future in which we cherish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as equal members of society.

To sign a petition, click here.


Evan Low is mayor of Campbell, California. This article was originally published on Change.org.

Search: Evan Low, Campbell, California, gay, blood, ban, HHS, FDA


Scroll down to comment on this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


  comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

Frederick Wright-Stafford, Coachella Valley, 2013-08-26 15:28:00
We can be accepted as we take ownership in the community, forgive and want to reconcile. Some say it takes tens year to change policy, but that is a bunch of malarkey. For it take passionate, honorable leaders and truth with the people behind it. This policy could be changed in months if the passion was behind the cause, more than about gay but about building up communities with forgiveness and going through the reconciliation process. Gay Folks forgive and restore their honor to build up.

Keith Edwards, Philadelphia, 2013-08-22 17:51:16
Alas, why can't we be accepted as equals in this world!

Colin, Toronto, 2013-08-22 10:57:28
Good on Evan Low. Outdated laws remain on the books until someone challenges them and brings them up-to-date.

Frederick Wright, Coachella Valley, 2013-08-21 18:55:36
I think this is a good idea for in the 80's a lot of gay folks received confirmation of their HIV status through the blood banks. I think the blood banks might consider a rapid HIV screening in person before giving blood, plus testing the blood as they do now. HEPC too. Smile changing Public Policy can change people's life and in this case the Blood can save lives too.

comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    


[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    Hillcrester
    Ramona
    California


    july8th69
    brooklyn
    New York


    hollywoodvers1
    Los Angeles
    California


    jacob2608
    Panama City Beach
    Florida
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Are you a regular coffee drinker?

Yes
No

Survey
Pop Watch

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.