FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Krishna Stone | 212.367.1016
New York, NY — Today, the New York City Council passed a vote by 42 to 1 on Resolution Number 80-A, urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end its lifetime ban on gay blood donors.
The FDA currently bans any man who had sex with another man, even once, since 1977 from donating blood. The policy does not consider the potential donor's HIV status, frequency or risk of sexual activity, or if he is in a monogamous relationship. Recently, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) released a report, A Drive for Change: Reforming U.S. Blood Donation Policies, detailing the history of the policy, efforts towards revision, and analysis of alternative donation criteria.
"The blood-donation ban reinforces stigma and undermines public health," said Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "Many policies adopted toward HIV 25 years ago were based on fear, prejudice and homophobia--not science and compassion."
On April 13, the NYC Council held a public hearing on this ban and GMHC leadership provided testimony. This issue will be re-visited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability in June.
"We thank Speaker Quinn and the NYC Council for their advocacy toward lifting the ban," added Hill. "We will continue to work with the City Council to call on the FDA to re-examine discriminatory policies that categorically exclude potential blood donors, including gay and bisexual men, and that contribute to chronic blood shortages."
GMHC is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. We provide prevention and care services to men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City. We advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide.