By Corinne Murdock |
Attorney General Kris Mayes is pushing to soften policy on blood donations from sexually active, gay men. Mayes joined 22 other states, led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, in supporting the policy change proposed by the Biden administration, which would reject potential donors who had sex with a new partner or more than one partner within the prior three months.
Current policy prohibits gay or bisexual men from donating blood if they’ve been sexually active within the prior three months. In a press release, Mayes called this protective measure “outdated.”
“Discriminatory blood donation policies not only stigmatize the LGBTQ community, and gay and bisexual men in particular, but also endanger the lives of patients in need,” said Mayes. “It’s long past time to abandon outdated practices and embrace a risk-based approach that allows all eligible donors to contribute to the blood supply. If implemented, the new guidance proposed by the Biden administration will undoubtedly save lives.”
Initially, the proposed policy change concerned offsetting the donor blood shortage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FDA indefinitely rejected blood donations from sexually active gay or bisexual men beginning in the 1980s with the AIDS outbreak, prohibiting any man who’d engaged in sodomy even once. It wasn’t until 2015 that the FDA softened this policy to allow blood donations from sexually active gay or bisexual men, so long as that donor claimed to not have been sexually active within the prior 12 months.
The FDA again revised its guidance to reduce the 12-month waiting period to three months.
In their letter to the Biden administration, Mayes and the 22 states argued that modern donor blood testing can find the presence of HIV within anywhere from 10 days to three months of transmission. They cited other countries with similar nondiscriminatory donation policies.
Several of the countries listed, including Italy and Mexico, have noted a higher-than-desirable prevalence of HIV-positive donors over the years, as well as concerns that screening policies don’t reach far enough.
The attorneys general also noted that men who claim to be in a monogamous, homosexual relationship suffered the greatest burden under current policy. Based on current data, monogamy is less commonly practiced by gay or bisexual men.
HIV and AIDS aren’t the only sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) that primarily result from sodomy. Last year, a global monkeypox outbreak occurred after an infected British man engaged in sexual activity while attending two raves in Belgium and Spain. The man caught monkeypox in Africa, where the disease is mainly endemic in animals.
The other states joining Arizona in supporting the Biden administration’s proposed policy change include California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.