Air Date: December 2, 2014
Host: Vic Eliason
While the homosexual and bisexual communities have been successful in their attempts to obtain normalization within certain aspects of American society, one hurdle they have not been able to overcome is the stigma surrounding gay blood donations due to fears that HIV would taint the blood supply.
According to an audio clip from Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, the CDC reports that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men comprise about 2% of the U.S. population. Even with such low population numbers, in 2010, gay and bisexual men accounted for 63% of estimated new HIV infections in the U.S. and 78% of infections among all newly infected men. In spite of this, the Federal Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety is considering relaxing the ban on blood donations for some gay men. This is only if they have not had sex with another man in the past year.
Before any changes to the current FDA policy can take place, the new recommendation would need to be adopted by the Blood Products Advisory Committee. Their job would then involve making recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where the secretary can decide to adopt, amend or reject the recommendations.
As Vic presented his information, the committee was involved in discussions regarding this topic in Silver Springs, Maryland, with no public input. The discussions will continue through tomorrow and listeners were encouraged to present their views on this topic to the officials listed below.
Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health & Human Services–1-877-696-6775 or Comment Line–(202)-205-5445
Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration–(301)-796-5000
Bryan Emery FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee Designated Federal Official–(240)-402-8054
Thomas Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–(404)-639-7000