Health

FDA Eases 31-Year Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men

According to government figures, men who have had sex with other men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, yet account for at least 62 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. (AP Photo)
According to government figures, men who have had sex with other men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population, yet account for at least 62 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. (AP Photo)

 

(Reuters) – U.S. health regulators will recommend that gay men be allowed to donate blood one year after their last sexual contact, easing a ban that has been in place since 1983.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that scientific evidence shows the move will not create risks for the nation’s blood supply. It stopped short of removing the ban altogether, which some medical groups and advocates had recommended, saying it was not supported by science.

The policy change is expected to boost the supply of donated blood by hundreds of thousands of pints per year.

Blood donations from gay men have been barred since the discovery that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was being transmitted through transfusions.

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