Dayton Community Blood Center Supports Ending Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood
The Dayton Community Blood Center says it supports removing a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering the change.
Dayton CBC and blood centers across the country have been calling for a removal of the lifetime ban for years, says CEO Dr. David Smith.
“At the time that was established their were reasons for it—because we did not have good blood testing systems or blood tests to be able to detect those things that you're concerned about, at the time it was HIV,” he said.
Smith says donated blood is much safer 30 years after the ban. Testing procedures have improved and expanded, and every donation of blood is tested. According to Smith, “You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than to get an infectious disease from transfusion.”
Additionally, the CEO says current rules on who can donate are inconsistent. He gives the example—"right now, if you have a woman who has sex with a man and that man’s had sex with another man well, she's not permanently deferred [banned], she's only deferred for a year. ”
Though, a one year deferral, or ban on donating blood for gay men would still be in place for men who have had sex with other men in the last year. FDA changes would make the rules for giving blood the same for all high-risk groups.
It could be some time before any changes go into effect though. Smith says it could be a year or more before the proposal is approved by the FDA.