The ban on blood donation by gay donors is set to be reassessed by a federal advisory committee as hearings are set to begin today.
The ban has been in existence since 1980s and intends to prevent the blood supply from being contaminated with AIDS.However advocates argue that it is unfair to singe out gay and bisexual men as testing methods may fail to detect other risky donors.
"We recognize there's some inconsistency," said Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen, medical director of Blood Centers of the Pacific. "For instance, a woman who has sex with a man who's known to have AIDS will get a 12-month deferral and a man who's had sex - even once since 1977 - would be deferred for life."
The American Association of Blood Banks and the American Red Cross are now recommending that gay and bisexual men practice abstinence for one-year before donating blood.