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Scott Wiener Calls for End to Ban on Blood Donation by Gay Men

Scott Lucas | July 15, 2014 | Story

Castro Supervisor Scott Wiener wants you to take his blood. Please. But it's not possible for the moderate politician to donate a pint top the Red Cross the next time a disaster rolls around, because he's gay. So he's trying to change that rule, in part by sponsoring a non-binding resolution at today's Board of Supervisors meeting.

A rule put in place by the FDA in 1983—at the beginning of the AIDS crisis—prohibits blood donations by men who have had sex with other men any time after 1977. Although scientific progress in blood screening has advanced since then, the ban still remains in place. 21 other countries currently allow gay men to donate blood. Wiener is introducing a non-binding resolution at today's Board of Supervisor's meeting that will put the city of San Francisco on the record advocating for a change.

“This archaic ban has no basis in public health and is discrimination, plain and simple,” said Wiener in a statement. “While it’s important to have guidelines ensuring that blood donors are not engaging in risky behaviors, being gay or bisexual should not disqualify people. No one should be treated differently because of a difference in sexual orientation. The FDA needs to change these rules now.”

Wiener's move comes as an organization called the Gay National Blood drive has been ramping up a campaign of its own. Last year, the American Medical Association voted in favor of ending the ban, although the FDA has so far resisted calls for a change.

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