FDA could lift ban on allowing gay men to donate blood - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

FDA could lift ban on allowing gay men to donate blood

Local Red Cross members like Johnson cannot speak to the proposed changes, but stress how desperately donors are needed, especially during the holidays. Local Red Cross members like Johnson cannot speak to the proposed changes, but stress how desperately donors are needed, especially during the holidays.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

A more than 30-year-old ban on allowing gay men to donate blood could soon be lifted. The change could come at a time when blood donations are needed most.

"You're giving life. You're giving the opportunity for someone else to have a second chance at life,” Donor Julie Palmer said.

Donors like Palmer are giving an extra special gift this season.

"If we have a chance to live, everybody deserves the chance to live,” Donor Sonny Dock said.

Soon, more people may be able to join in giving. The Food and Drug Administration is considering allowing gay men to give blood.

In the 1980s, the FDA established the ban saying, “Men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors.”

"There's so many people that need blood." Michelle Johnson said.

Local Red Cross members like Johnson cannot speak to the proposed changes, but stress how desperately donors are needed, especially during the holidays.

"When people travel more, we tend to need more blood,” Johnson said.

The Red Cross nationally supports the move, calling the ban “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

But not everyone does. One adviser to the FDA cautions, “It's going to be a guess as to what's going to happen.”

"Only three percent of the population donate blood. And the average is 1.5 times a year,” Johnson said.

Here locally, though, the main concern is encouraging everyone who can, to give.

"O-negative is the universal donor. If you're O-negative, please, please, please come out and donate, especially this time of the year,” Johnson said.

If the policy is changed, gay men could still not give within a year of having sex with another man.

Still no word yet on when the change could happen.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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