Easing a 31-year-old ban on gay men, the US health regulators on Tuesday said that it is going to recommend the homosexual community to be allowed to carry blood donation one year after their last sexual contact.
Regulating body the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shed all the fears of health risks, saying there are enough scientific evidence that clearly suggests that the move will not create risks for the blood supply nationwide.
In a statement, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said, “The FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data.”
According to the health experts, the change in policy is likely to boost the country’s blood supply from donations by hundreds of thousands of pints a year.
The FDA, however, didn’t bid for removing the ban altogether as it was facing severe pressure from the medical groups and advocates, who say the move was not supported by science.
The gay men were banned for life from blood donation since 1983 when the scientists came to know that deadly AIDS causing HIV could be transmitted through transfusion.
The regulatory body said that the move aims at aligning the policy for gay men with that for other men and women at higher risk for HIV infection.
The FDA had said that it will be issuing draft guidance on the policy by early next year. The comments and feedback would be reviewed before the final issuing of guidance.
Early December, an FDA advisory committee had convened a meeting and discussed the efficacy of new blood supply tests for HIV infections. Last month, an advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended a one-year deferral in this regard.