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Advisory panel recommends upholding ban on blood donations from gay men

Advisory panel recommends upholding ban on blood donations from gay men

A government health committee Friday voted against rescinding the ban on gay men donating blood but also called for new research on alternative policies, citing flaws in the current rules.

The Health and Human Services Committee, in its recommendations, noted that current policy permits some potentially high-risk blood donations and prevents some possible low-risk donations. But the panel said existing research isn’t adequate to justify lifting the ban.

“This decision is outrageous, irresponsible and archaic,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement.

“We expect more out of this advisory committee and this administration than to uphold an unnecessarily discriminatory policy from another era.”

The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates blood donations, has final say over the blood rules. It currently forbids any man who has had sex with another man in the last 33 years from giving blood.

The FDA policy was imposed in 1985, amidst the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Experts testifying before federal health officials this week said the ban is out of step with advances in screening for HIV and other diseases.

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