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Public Comment Period Closes For FDA's Controversial Blood Donation Policy

GMHC Calls for an Updated Policy Based on Science, Not Stigma





November 25, 2016
Contact: Danielle Filson | 646-335-0443 |


New York, NY -- GMHC released the following statement after the close of the public docket period extended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2016, where comments on potential changes to the current blood donor deferral policy could be submitted. The current policy prevents any man who has had sex with another man in the past year from giving blood.


We were encouraged by the fact that the FDA extended the public comment period on potential changes to the current blood donation policy. Now, the real work must begin. GMHC is calling on the FDA to explore the alternate deferral options that have been submitted in the form of comments over the past four months, such as individual risk assessment, which is based on donor activity, not identity. Part of this work means evaluating current blood testing technologies, which suggest that a deferral period of three months at most is an appropriate next step. We also ask that the FDA explore various activities and the variety of risk levels they pose, such as the consistent use of PrEP and condoms.
At a time when the LGBT community feels increasingly marginalized, the FDA must make altering the policy a top priority.  Now is the time for our nation to move forward from the current one-year deferral policy, which ignores the modern science of HIV-testing and perpetuates the discrimination we have been fighting for over 35 years.  



About Gay Men's Health Crisis 

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 10,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit