US: FDA ‘to consider’ relaxing gay blood ban

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The Food and Drug Administration will meet next week to consider recommendations to lift the permanent ban on gay men giving blood.

In the US at present, regulations introduced during the AIDS crisis mean that all men who have sex with men are currently banned from giving blood for life.

However, critics say the practice is discriminatory and does not reflect modern screening practices, and the FDA is facing calls to introduce less discriminatory rules.

Earlier this month, a key advisory committee made recommendations that the regulations should be relaxed, voting 16-2 in favour of instead introducing a 12 month ban for MSM, similar to the UK.

FDA advisers will meet next week to consider the recommendations – which might not be adopted, as they are non-binding.

FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Rodriguez told The Hill: “Following deliberations taking into consideration the available evidence, the FDA will issue revised guidance, if appropriate.”

National Gay Blood Drive activist Ryan James Yezak said: “We’ve got the ball rolling. I feel like this is a tide-turning vote.

“There’s been a lot of feet dragging and I think they’re realizing it now.”