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CA Atty. General Is Among Those Calling For Gay Men To Be Able To Give Blood Without A Delay

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People donate blood last month during a drive held at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda after the American Red Cross declared a ‘severe blood shortage.' (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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"The discriminatory restrictions against blood donations by healthy gay and bisexual Americans have persisted for far too long."

That's the position taken this week by the attorneys general of 20 states, including California, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that calls on the agency to further ease rules on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

Those restrictions, which began in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, have been loosened in recent years from a lifetime ban on donating to allowing men who have sex with men to donate blood if they had not had sex in the last 12 months, to another scale-back last month to a three month wait.

The call for action is motivated by the current coronavirus crisis. The letter specifically cites:

  • A UCLA study that found another 300,000 pints of blood would be available annually if the ban was lifted entirely.
  • The need for "potentially life-saving convalescent plasma" donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and the current requirement that they be eligible to give blood.
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