FDA lifts lifetime ban on gay men donating blood

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 21 2015) -- The federal government lifted its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

That ban has been in place for more than three decades.

Officials with the Indiana Blood Center said eliminating the lifetime ban does not affect the safety of the state’s blood supply.

Thirty years ago, fearing the infection of AIDS in the blood supply, the Food and Drug Administration instituted a lifetime ban for gay men who wanted to do their part and donate blood.

That lifetime ban has now been lifted.

“It’s symbolic of nothing and it doesn’t change the attitudes that people have towards homosexual community,” said Michelle Parrish, who works at a gay bar called the Metro.

She supports lifting the ban, but is critical of the restrictions that will still be in place. Gay men must now abstain from sex for one year before being allowed to donate.

Michelle said that will be hard to enforce and still places a stigma on gay men.

“I don’t think it makes much difference and it’s still discriminatory,” said Parrish.

“This change to the guidelines will not have any impact to safety of the blood supply,” said Andrea Fagan with the Indiana Blood Center.

The Indiana Blood Center will follow the FDA guidelines which claims that with today’s advanced testing the lifetime ban was simply no longer needed to ensure the blood supply would not be contaminated.

“Job number one is safety of the blood supply and the FDA would never do anything to place that in jeopardy,” said Fagan.

“I don’t think it makes any difference, but it might be a small step in the right direction,” said Parrish.

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