FDA loosens ban on blood donations from gay men

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Men who have sex with men are now allowed to donate blood, according to a revised policy posted today by the Food and Drug Administration.

The update reverses a previous policy that banned homosexual men from donating blood indefinitely—a recommendation that dates to 1983, the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, to donate blood now, homosexual men must abstain from sexual contact for a year.

“Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the US population,” Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in a press release. “We will continue to actively conduct research in this area and further revise our policies as new data emerge.”

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