Last week, Supervisor Scott Wiener joined other across the nation in the National Gay Blood Drive, a petition demanding the feds end the decades-long ban on gays donating blood.
his efforts didn't end there. Today, Wiener, who is openly gay, is calling on the Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution that reiterates his stance on this whole issue: gay and bisexual men should be allowed to give blood already.
As it stands, the Federal Drug Administration says that any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 can't donate blood. The (ill)logic behind that rule is that back in 1983 -- at the height of the AIDS epidemic -- men who had sex with other men were at the highest risk for HIV/AIDS. Although much has changed in the last 30 years -- advances in health, screening practices, hairstyles, and reality -- the ban on gay blood has not.
The issue has become even more pressing as the need for blood donors in the United States has continued to increase. Every two seconds, someone needs blood, and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to Wiener's Office. A 2010 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that an end to the ban on gay men would result in 219,000 additional pints of blood donated annually. As of July of last year, 21 countries had altered their policies to allow gay men to donate blood.
"This archaic ban has no basis in public health and is discrimination, plain and simple," Supervisor Wiener said in a statement released this morning. "While it's important to have guidelines ensuring that blood donors are not engaging in risky behaviors, being gay or bisexual should not disqualify people."
"No one should be treated differently because of a difference in sexual orientation. The FDA needs to change these rules now," Wiener added.
If you agree, then go ahead and add your John Hancock to the petition.