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Lift U.S. Ban on Blood Donations by Gay Men, Experts Say
Date:7/28/2014

ent advances in gay rights, and could be open to a legal challenge, given that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, he said.

Other countries have already moved to limit their bans on blood donations from gay men in recent years. Canada has changed its policy to a five-year ban, there's a one-year ban in place in the United Kingdom and a six-month ban in South Africa.

None of these countries has experienced any increase in HIV-positive blood donations, noted Dr. Steven Kleinman, a senior medical advisor to the AABB, an international non-profit blood bank association.

Current technology allows accurate detection of HIV in the bloodstream within weeks of exposure, Kleinman said. Changing the ban to six months or a year remains a conservative approach that still allows officials to prevent contamination of the blood supply, he said.

"It's correct to say that countries have made changes and so far we haven't seen any adverse effects," Kleinman added.

FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Rodriguez said that the agency is open to changing the lifetime ban and is awaiting the results of new research that will provide additional evidence.

An advisory committee to the FDA in 2010 voted in favor of retaining the existing policy. But it also found that the ban might be keeping some low-risk donors from contributing to the nation's blood supply, she said.

The committee also recommended looking at the results of studies that have been undertaken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The studies are aimed at reviewing rates of transfusion-transmitted infections and investigating whether another screening strategy for gay men could maintain the safety of the nation's blood supply, the HHS said.

Officials at HHS said the results of this research should be available by the end of 2014.

"When the results and data from the studies are available and potential policy revisions are brought f
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Lift U.S. Ban on Blood Donations by Gay Men, Experts Say
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