ACSH staffers are surprised that the Department of Health and Human Services Blood Advisory Committee did not overturn the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. The issue is nothing new to ACSH s Jeff Stier, who referred to the ban as a reckless commitment to the precautionary principle in 2008.
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross argues that the advent of new sexually transmitted infection screening tests renders the policy obsolete. Although there is a brief window about two to eight weeks in which HIV is transmissible, but cannot be detected by antibody tests, there is no reason to continue this discriminatory ban. We thought that instead of upholding a 25-year-old measure, they would implement a more science-based policy barring people who ve had multiple sex partners in the past six months not some blanket ban on all men who have had sex with men.
ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan agrees. At a time when there is a crucial shortage of blood, we cannot afford to needlessly turn away safe potential donors.