Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has lent her support to a change made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowing men who have had sex with men (MSM) to donate blood after one year of abstinence instead of being banned for life from doing so.
"The FDA's long-overdue decision to overturn the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men is an important step forward, but a one-year deferral policy for all MSM remains discriminatory," Warren said. "The FDA says it will continue to re-evaluate its policy, and the agency needs to commit to developing a risk-based framework for all blood donors that is based on current science. I will continue to press the agency to move in this direction in order to improve the safety and robustness of the blood supply."
The lifetime ban for MSM to donate blood came about during the 1980s, when AIDS became an epidemic and little was known about the disease. The first resolution proposing the revocation of the ban was presented in 2013 by representatives of the American Medical Association.
Other lawmakers supporting the change include Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
Although encouraged by the progress the change indicates, Quigley would like to see even more.
"A time-based deferral focusing solely on men who have sex with men is still discriminatory and fails to exclude donors based on actual risk factors," Quigley said. "However, I remain encouraged by the ongoing conversation to change this outdated policy."
While Baldwin welcomed the change she said there is still more progress to be made.
"This revision doesn't go far enough -- and I expect the FDA to maintain its commitment to work with stakeholders to develop better blood donor policies based on science," she said.
Warren backs FDA change to blood donation policy
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