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Reevaluating Blood Donation Policies for LGBTQ+ Individuals

Author Name : Bhavya Bagga     |     Date : 29-06-2023
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In the 1980s, the HIV/AIDS outbreak was in full swing, and doctors were just starting to figure out what the virus was and how it spread. During this time, the FDA made a rule that gay and queer men couldn't give blood. This rule still stands today. The FDA policy suggests, among other things, that people in the LGBTQ+ group have a much higher chance of getting HIV/AIDS than the rest of the population. Since the beginning, this strategy has been controversial, and many people have questioned whether or not it is based on good science.

In January 2023, the FDA released new rules for blood donation, which say that men who have relations with other men can give blood after three months of being celibate. These new rules show that the FDA is changing the way it looks at screening blood donors based on scientific proof. Now, they are looking at rules that were made decades ago and making changes to them in order to reduce shame and discrimination.Even though the new rules are better, many people still think they are unfair. Some people in the LGBTQ+ community say that the three-month requirement for celibacy doesn't truly reflect the risks of getting HIV and that it still keeps them from giving blood. Also, a person's ability to donate is based on the gender they were given at birth, even if they have had surgery to change it. This lack of fairness is especially troubling because gender-affirming surgery is seen as an important medical need in many countries, including the United States.

The idea that gay people and transgender people are more likely to get HIV is not completely true. According to scientific evidence, the number of new HIV infections is going down overall, but the number of new HIV infections in teens and young people is going up. Studies show that the number of cisgender men who have sex with other guys and get HIV has gone down. This is thanks to antiretroviral therapy and other improvements in HIV prevention. Researchers have also found that how people think about risks has a big effect on the actions that lead to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Stigmatization and discrimination against trans and nonbinary people also make it hard for them to get health care tools, like donating blood.

People shouldn't be refused sterile injectable blood because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. This is because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right not to be treated unfairly. Because of this, it's important to change the rules about giving blood based on science and equality, not on stereotypes and old beliefs.

In conclusion, the ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood is not based on science and just adds to shame and discrimination. The FDA is looking at these policies again as standards based on science, but they still have a long way to go in terms of being open to everyone. In the meantime, we need to recognize that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to get sterile blood to inject, and we should work to change the policies in our healthcare system that promote stigma and discrimination.