Red Cross enters gay blood ban protests

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The American Red Cross (ARC) is lobbying the US government to lift the Department of Health and Human Services’ ban on gay blood donors.

According to the American Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) gay men are at higher risk of contracting and transmitting HIV and other diseases such as hepatitis, which poses a health risk.

The Red Cross along with the American Association of Blood banks (AABB) and America’s Blood Centres (ABC) is pushing for guidelines that treat donors equally, they released a joint statement which said: “The AABB, ABC and ARC believe that the current lifetime deferral for

men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarranted and recommend that deferral criteria be modified and made compatible with criteria for other groups at increased risk for sexual transmission of transfusion-transmitted infections.”

The health organisation, who claim to supply almost half of America’s blood, believe improved HIV testing means the current ban is now not needed.

Ryland Dodge, director of biomedical communication for the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., said, “There is newer and more accurate testing available.”

The FDA is reportedly expected to consider a proposal to revise its donation guidelines later in the year.