If you are homosexual, have been exposed to malaria, recently got pierced or tattooed or are just old-fashioned sexually promiscuous, good news: the Food and Drug Administration is no longer uninterested in your donated blood.
Facing an urgent need for donations amid the coronavirus outbreak, the FDA recently relaxed rules restricting blood donations from gay men and other groups. Men who have had sex with another man now must wait only three months from their last sexual encounter in order to donate. The move was reported by ABC 7 in San Francisco.
They previously had to wait an entire year due to fears about HIV, which is spread by homosexual sex and intravenous drug use.
The same three-month waiting period now applies to female donors who had sex with a man who had sex with another man as well as those with recent tattoos and piercings. The FDA also reduced the wait for those who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas and want to give blood.
“These changes are being put forth for immediate implementation and are expected to remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, with any appropriate changes based on comments we receive and our experience implementing the guidance,” Dr. Peter Marks, the director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release.
The U.S. and many other countries have long restricted donations from gay and bisexual men and several other groups due to the risk of spreading HIV through the blood supply. In 2015, the FDA moved from a total ban to the one-year abstinence period for men who have sex with men.
Gay rights groups have continued to challenge that policy, saying it’s unnecessary given current testing technology and continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men.
“LGBTQ Americans can hold their heads up today and know that our voices will always triumph over discrimination,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.
Donated blood is screened for a number of infectious diseases, including HIV. The new coronavirus can’t be spread through blood.