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Meg Omecene

In the Know with Meg O

In The Know With Meg O: FDA might allow blood donations from gay men

This week, the Food and Drug Administration could lift the ban that prohibits gay men from donating blood.The ban has been in place for 31 years and was spurred by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. When the FDA was trying to figure out how to quash the disease, it grouped gay men with intravenous drug users and completely banned them from donating blood for life, which at the time was a reaction to a lack of a blood test. But because science has progressed since the ’80s, there are now tests that show if someone is HIV-positive within weeks of exposure.However, the lift of the ban is conditional and would not allow all HIV-negative men to donate blood. Rather, the ban will only be lifted if the man has not had sex with another man in the last year, even if he is in a monogamous relationship.A ruling that favors donations from gay men would be a big step in societal growth toward total acceptance of the LGBTQ community. This ban is so antiquated. When it was put in place, people thought only gay men could get AIDS. But as the understanding of the disease became widespread, the ban has been a source of discrimination to a large section of the population.However, the change to the prohibition is not a true source of eliminating discrimination. For men in a monogamous relationship, not being allowed to donate blood is still offensive and seems unnecessary. I hope the FDA will grow with the times to show the rest of the country that gay men should not be discriminated against for something that affects a very small amount of the population.

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