Target: Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Commend progressive changes to bans on blood donations from gay and bisexual men
Gay men will no longer be barred from donating blood thanks to a recent policy change from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA included a stipulation requiring possible gay and bisexual donors to have abstained from sex for at least one year prior to their donation, though this is still a huge step in the right direction. A previous ForceChange petition called for an end to the draconian ban.
The ban was implemented in 1983 in the wake of the HIV/AIDS crisis due to fear and a lack of information about the virus. At the time, there was no quick test to determine if someone had HIV and at the earliest stages of the epidemic it was clear that the gay community was disproportionately affected by the virus and that once HIV advanced into AIDS, it severely shortened the sufferer’s lifespan.
Still, not long down the road much more understanding of the disease was gained, quick testing was readily available and treatments are now surprisingly effective. For many years, this discriminatory ban has been clutched arbitrarily by the FDA and with the loosened regulations, blood donations are estimated to increase four percent, getting us closer to being able to provide enough blood to everyone in need.
Though the year of abstinence for potential donors is unnecessary in light of the fact that all blood is tested for blood-borne illnesses before being used in hospitals and clinics, this is a clear improvement and proof that the American people will no longer accept discriminatory policies based on prejudice and a lack of information. Sign this petition in support of this important move to save more lives and end discrimination.
Dear Commissioner Hamburg,
The FDA’s decision to scrap a decades-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men is an important step away from an era of fear and prejudice. The archaic ban was enacted to protect the public to the best of the country’s ability in a time of crisis. While much more needs to be done to eradicate HIV and AIDS, that crisis has long been over and a moratorium on blood donations is clearly unnecessary.
With testing, treatments and greater knowledge of HIV and AIDS, we can now abandon such ridiculous policies and hopefully end the requisite year of abstinence for potential donors soon.
I support and applaud the decision to lift the discriminatory blood donation ban.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jeremy L. Grisham via Wikimedia Commons
Original petition: Demand End to Gay Blood Donation Ban