Gay Men React To The FDA Blood-Donation Proposal

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By James Nichols

The Food and Drug Administration recommended changes to a 31-year-old ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men Tuesday, instead suggesting that potential male donors should have abstained from same-sex sex for at least 12 months before giving the gift of life. The new guidelines — like the decades-old ban — stem from the fact that gay and bisexual men are more likely to be HIV positive than the general population and therefore have a higher probability of donating infected blood. But all blood is screened for the virus after donation, and today’s tests detect the virus less than two weeks after infection — leaving many gay men and advocacy groups confused about the new proposal.

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