WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health advisers have concerns about lifting a nationwide ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, despite growing pressure against the policy from gay rights advocates, medical experts and blood banks.
The ban dates from the first years of the AIDS epidemic and was intended to protect the U.S. blood supply from exposure to the little-understood disease. But many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, say the policy is no longer supported by science, given advances in HIV testing. And gay activists say the lifetime ban is discriminatory and perpetuates negative stereotypes against homosexual men.
Still, blood safety experts urged the Food and Drug Administration to exercise caution in making any changes to current policy, saying the impact on the blood supply is difficult to predict.