The "time to discard FDA’s blood donation ban on men who have sex with men" proposal

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Eliminating the FDA’s blood donation ban on men who have sex with men would help ease the U.S. shortage
https://www.statnews.com/2022/01/14/remo...-shortage/

EXCERPTS: For the first time ever, the American Red Cross this week declared a national blood shortage crisis and hospitals are putting out calls for donors — yet the Food and Drug Administration continues to ban men who have sex with men from donating blood.

It is long past time for the FDA to eliminate this ban. No other group is similarly banned from donating blood. Prohibiting only men who have sex with men from donating blood is the definition of homophobic, because it presumes that this sexual orientation is unsafe. That is provably false: Studies report no risk to the blood supply in other countries that do not ban donations from this group of men.

The assumption that blood from sexually active gay and bisexual men is deadly is deadly. UCLA researchers say lifting the ban would mean as many as 350,000 new donors and could treat more than a million people.

[...] The FDA acknowledges that current blood-screening methods can detect infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C within this three-month window. That the U.S. has sophisticated screening methods in place is why no one was surprised when researchers found no difference in HIV infection when the lifetime ban was shortened to one year in 2015. This is good news: With more than 17 million blood transfusions every year in the U.S., the country does not rely on the honor system. The bad news is that people are punished for telling the truth about who they are and blood donors are turned away even though their blood is needed and would be carefully screened... (MORE - missing details)

RELATED (homeless & drug user donors):

Some donors bypass plasma screen process
https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/ne...985535007/

EXCERPTS: The people that enter and leave Plasma Biological Services each day [...] might be homeless or under the influence, and Plasma Biological Services’ tools for weeding out ineligible donors isn't foolproof.

People who are under the influence or do not have a permanent address are not eligible to donate blood or plasma, according to Title 21 of the Food and Drug Administration’s Code of Federal Regulations. All potential donors at Plasma Biological Services fill out an electronic questionnaire on a kiosk before donating, and one question is whether or not they are under the influence.

Regular donors say it’s easy to simply lie to the machine. “It’s just yes or no questions,” said University of Missouri sophomore Isaac Smith, who said he has donated four or five times. “There’s nothing to back it up.”

[...] “I’ve been in eight different homeless shelters in several states, and I realized there’s a whole culture of people living homeless that get by decently using all the help they can get,” Simmons said. “Blood centers, that’s an easy way to get cash.”

Donors provide proof of permanent address in the form of bills. Some homeless people in Columbia have their cell phone bills mailed to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church, which provides a ministry to the homeless called Turning Point. Church employee Patricia Howard confirmed that the church allows homeless people to use it as a permanent address, and mail for the homeless arrives at the church every day.

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Why Thousands of Low-Income Americans 'Donate' Their Blood Plasma to For-Profit Centers
https://abcnews.go.com/US/thousands-low-...d=44710257

EXCERPT: The U.S. supplies 94 percent of the paid plasma used around the world. And nearly 80 percent of the plasma centers in the U.S. are located in America’s poorer neighborhoods. Many of the people who frequent these centers to give their plasma are full-time workers and low-income Americans who are just unable to make ends meet.

William, who has two children and works at a Burger King in Kansas City, Missouri, says he gives his blood plasma twice a week. “I go Fridays and Sundays. Right arm I use Friday. Other I use Sunday. I switch up every time,” William said. “It’s a 21-gauge needle, so it’s pretty thick.”

The payment they receive averages about $30 to $40, and for the companies, it is a $19.7 billion global industry.
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