The US Food and Drug Administration has reviewed its blood donor policy for homosexual males and will now allow them to donate blood after a year of abstaining from sexual activity.
Opponents of the ban say that this restriction is outdated and dates to a time when the AIDS epidemic was spreading quickly in the gay community, sparking widespread fear about the deadly infection, which was then poorly understood. It also stigmatizes homosexuals. Medical and legal experts are also of the opinion that the ban is outdated, and that sophisticated tests for detecting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exist, which can make blood donation by gay men a much safer practice.
The agency will recommend the policy change in 2015 and that it will be subject to public feedback before it is finalized. FDA Director Margaret Hamburg said, "The agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact."