Boston Globe (08.03.2013)
In a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and four other colleagues have requested a quick review of the ban on gay men donating blood.
More than 80 other congressional lawmakers signed the letter that was initiated when a Massachusetts constituent told Warren that his blood donation was rejected after the Boston Marathon bombings this past April. “For me, this has been a basic issue of fairness and of science. Blood donation policies should be grounded in science, not ugly and inaccurate stereotypes,” Warren said.
Warren’s letter to HHS cited the American Medical Association’s recently crafted resolution that asked for a lifting of the ban “in favor of a policy based on individual risk factors other than sexual orientation.” The letter noted that science dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic has changed in the past three decades. Since 2006, other organizations have supported removing the ban, including the American Association of Blood Banks, the Red Cross and American’s Blood Centers. Since the issue has been under discussion in the medical community for nearly seven years, the letter also expressed concern “with the pace of HHS’s review of the current policy and requests documents, criteria, and plans for finishing the review.”
HHS was conducting additional research “to help inform policy discussions” that were not yet complete, stated an email from an agency spokesperson. “HHS is committed to continuously improving the safety and availability of the nation’s blood supply,” Spokesperson Diane Gianelli added.