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Vermont House Votes to Lift Lifetime Gay Blood Ban

Vermont House Votes to Lift Lifetime Gay Blood Ban


The Vermont House voted this week to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift its lifetime ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.

Reports CBS DC:

The resolution calls for a one-year period when blood should not be given after sexual contact with a man, rather than the lifetime ban presently in place.

[Supporters] of the House resolution, which passed 129-2, say the British government and some international health organizations have changed their standards on the question.

The blood ban, sparked by the HIV/AIDS crisis, was enacted in 1986. Under the current policy any man that has had sex with another man since 1977, no matter how infrequently or safely, is permanently barred from donating.

However, supporters of lifting the ban point out that because testing protocols have vastly improved since that time, the ban is no longer scientifically or medically supported.

The chief criticism of the ban is that it singles gay men out as high risk without taking into account their sexual history (they may, for instance, have always practiced safe sex) and without asking for the same standard from heterosexuals who may have had multiple partners and not practiced safe sex. In effect,the ban hinges on sexuality and not risk status.

Last year the British Government retired the UK’s lifetime donation ban, settling instead for a five-year deferral period for men who have sex with other men. While welcomed as a step in the right direction, the five-year deferral period was criticized by campaigners as still discriminatory.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently said that it would re-examine the U.S. blood donation ban.

Canadian Blood Services and its counterpart Héma Québec are also said to be reconsidering their bans.


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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Garrett Albright.

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5:50AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

thanks for good article

2:28AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

all blood is thoroughly tested for viruses/drugs or whatever could be lurking in there. it comes down to do they want the blood or not? but someone's sexuality should have nothing to do with whether they can or cannot donate blood

1:57PM PDT on May 29, 2012

Please visit Saving Lives With Helpful Guys! ( This website is an educational resource center for policy directors, civil rights activists, students, members of the medical community, and the public at large who are dedicated to safely and sensibly reforming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Gay Blood Ban.

11:34AM PDT on May 24, 2012

This is the top of stupidity!!! What do these officials think? 'Oh, thousands of people die because there are no blood donations enough to make transfusions to them.. Anyway, we do not like men with non-traditional sexual orientation and we won't let them make donations!' Well, everything is better than to be gay, to let gay share his blood, etc. Just let the people die because of discrimination we can't get rid of.


4:19AM PDT on May 7, 2012

With the the constant blood supply shortage and modern testing for blood borne diseases, it's short-sighted not to allow gay men to donate blood. (There are also many HIV-negative gay men who have been been in monogamous relationships for years.)

3:04AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Helpful info, thanks!

6:41PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Just test everybody's blood. Some men who don't consider themselves gay may have had sex with another man, or people may have shared needles to do drugs and could be carrying HIV - you can't look at someone and know if they are a carrier or not...

2:39AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thanks for the article.

9:07PM PDT on May 3, 2012

drusilla, so you are saying that gay people are sexually resposible ?how did you come to that conclusion ? alot of gays and straight are sexually irresponsible, otherwise only a certain group of people would be the only ones get hiv/ std's. EVERY donors blood should be tested regardless of their sexual preference !

9:01PM PDT on May 3, 2012

anita , your comment did not make sense, gays same as heterosexuals can get std's , you are lying if you say you don't fear getting blood from a gay person anyone in their right mind would fear getting blood from someone else , gays and straights alike.

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