Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley have joined forces in a new fight to end the ban on gay male blood donation in the United States.
This comes after Kerry's previous efforts to reverse the ban in 2010.
More after the jump!
The FDA's initial band was sparked by the AIDS crisis in the 1980's. Currently they impose a lifetime ban on blood donation from men who have had a sexual relationship with another man since 1977. Interestingly, a person who has engaged in heterosexual sexual activity with a person known to have HIV, is only banned for one year.
Clearly there's a double-standard in place with gay men being on the negative end of it.
On Monday, Kerry and Quigley wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) championing a new pilot study reviewing the FDA policy.
Sen. Kerry released a statement, saying: “We've been working on this a long time and I applaud Secretary Sebelius for taking this important step toward ending the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, and instead relying on the science of today not the myths of twenty years ago. I'm confident that the findings of these new studies will pave the way to get this policy off the books. We'll at last have an informed evaluation of the final roadblocks to ending a ban against healthy, responsible Americans donating blood.”
Quigley also released a statement emphasizing the need for donors. He states, “Patients across the country desperately need life-saving blood transfusions, yet perfectly healthy would-be donors are turned away based solely on sexual orientation. Equality for the LGBT community is closer than ever but outdated and discriminatory policies like this must evolve to match advancements in science and technology.”
10 Democratic senators joined Kerry and Quigley in signing the letter. They include: Daniel Akaka, Mark Begich, Michael Bennett, Maria Cantwell, Kirsten Gillibrand, Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen, and Mark Udall. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders also signed.