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New study by FDA could allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:21 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 9:52 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new study funded by the FDA may make it possible for gay and bisexual men to donate more.

Anytime folks donate blood they are asked a number of questions about their health, and sometimes that includes their sex life. For decades, gay or bisexual men have been banned from donating blood if they have been sexually active in the last three months, but a new study could change that rule.

At a time when blood banks are basically begging anyone to take a seat in their chair, not everyone who wants to roll up their sleeve is allowed to give blood.

“But that desire to try to have a large donor base of potentially eligible persons who could come in and donate certainly can help in the future, and it’s definitely one of the key objectives of the advanced study,” explains Vitalant Researcher Brian Custer.

The FDA is considering changing its rule banning gay men from donating blood. Vitalant Baton Rouge along with the American Red Cross is conducting a blood story funded by the FDA.

“The Advance Study is a study that was specifically designed to try to collect data that can potentially change the current policy that does not allow a man who has sex with men, who has been sexually active in the last three months to donate blood,” adds Custer.

Custer says with modern testing, they can detect HIV or other diseases in blood better than they did in the 80s when the rule was first put in place. The Red Cross says changes in the FDA’s rule could open the eligibility pool to as many as 360,000 potential donors. WAFB asked LGBTQ advocates with Youth Oasis about the study. They believe the FDA’s rule is discriminatory.

“I would like to see this study lead to a better understanding of how we can infuse equity into health care. Also, really understanding the role that science and health care plays in the lives of the individuals,” says Tekoah Boatner who is the executive director of Youth Oasis.

If you are interested in participating in the Advance Study, researchers are looking for volunteers in Baton Rouge, La. Click on this link to learn more: https://advancestudy.org/

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