Washington, D.C. – The United States government on Thursday reduced restrictions on blood donations from homosexuals and other LGBTT community groups due to the drop in the nation’s banks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy will allow tens of thousands of Americans to donate blood, including gays, bisexuals, and people with recent tattoos and piercings.
“We want and need the help of all healthy people to donate blood,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who announced the changes at an FDA press conference.RELATED
Last month, the American Red Cross estimated that there had been a decrease of 86,000 blood donors in the past few weeks because blood centers were canceled at job centers, schools, and other locations.
Previous FDA rules prohibited donations from men who had sex with other men within a year. The same provision applied to women who had sex with a gay person or bisexual men, in addition to people who had tattoos or piercings in the past year.
Under the new measure, the time was reduced to three months. The three-month move resembles changes made in the UK and in other developed countries.
The FDA made similar changes to restrictions on people who recently traveled to countries at risk of malaria spread.
The agency said the changes will remain after the pandemic ends.
The United States and other nations have maintained gay and bisexual restrictions since 1983, after the HIV epidemic, when the technology to detect the virus did not exist. In 2015, the FDA moved abstinence to a one-year period for men who have same-sex relationships.
Over the years, civil rights groups have contested the regulations, because although there are already ways to detect the HIV virus in collected blood, the FDA never changed its provisions. In addition, it is proven that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can contract this disease.