Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Safe Gays' Defined by Obama's FDA as Celibate

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created a new classification of homosexual men:  Those who've not had anal sex for at least a year.  This new FDA action means that all other men who claim the mantle of "gay" will continue to be excluded from donating their blood because it may be contaminated with HIV.
"This new policy does not require heterosexual blood donors to be celibate for one year. Some may believe this is a step forward, but in reality, requiring celibacy for a year is a de facto lifetime ban."
-- Statement from the Gay Men's Health Crisis
UPDATE 12/21/15: FDA Final Policy Holds to Celibacy Requirement for Homosexual Blood Donors (see excerpts below)

For background, read Federal Government Says HIV/AIDS is Mostly a Gay Disease and also just reported that Soaring Syphilis Rates Among Homosexual Men Point to HIV Risk

The basis for the FDA decision is that Anal Sex is Main Cause of HIV Pandemic, Study Shows

Also, a recent federal CDC Report Shows Most HIV Homosexual Men Have Unprotected Sex

-- From "FDA favors ending blanket ban on gay blood donors" by Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY 12/23/14

Last month a panel of blood safety experts convened by Department of Health and Human Services voted 16-2 in favor of doing away with the lifetime ban. The panel recommended moving to a one-year ban, which bars donors who have had male-on-male sex during the previous 12 months.

The proposed policy change, which will be offered for public comment next year, would allow gay men to donate blood if they had not engaged in sex with another man for at least a year.

In a prepared statement, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the proposed policy would "better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection."

In September, the Centers for Disease Control noted in a report that men who have sex with men represent about 2 percent of the U.S. population. It also noted that another CDC survey from 2007 to 2010 found that men who engaged in gay sex accounted for 63%of all new HIV infections.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Gay Groups Decry New FDA Rule Requiring Celibacy to Donate Blood" by Miranda Leitsinger, NBC News 12/23/14

Gay rights groups rejected a decision by the FDA to ease the blanket ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, saying the agency's requirement that this group of donors abstain from sex for a year before giving was "offensive" and imposed a "de facto lifetime ban."

The new rule was a step in the right direction, "but blood donation policy should be based on current scientific knowledge and experience, not unfounded fear, generalizations and stereotypes," said Scott Schoettes, Lambda Legal's director of HIV Policy. He said policy should be focused on the conduct of the potential donor and not on sexual orientation or gender identity.

. . . the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association challenged [the FDA], saying any "categorical" donation deferment for gay or bisexual men for any length of time was "arbitrary, stigmatizing and not scientifically supported." The group called on the FDA to commit to developing a policy addressing specific at-risk sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "F.D.A. Lifting Ban on Gay Blood Donors" by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times 12/23/14

The F.D.A. enacted the ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic. At the time, little was known about the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes the disease, and there was no quick test to determine whether somebody had it. But science — and the understanding of H.I.V. in particular — has advanced in the intervening decades, and on Tuesday the F.D.A. acknowledged as much, lifting the lifetime ban but keeping in place a more modest block on donations by men who have had sex with other men in the last 12 months.

The shift puts the United States on par with European countries like Britain, which adjusted its lifetime ban in favor of a 12-month restriction in 2011. Men’s health advocates welcomed the move, saying that the ban was not based on the latest science and that it perpetuated stigma about gay men as a risk to the health of the nation. Legal experts said the change brings an important national health policy in line with other legal and political rights, such as permitting gay and people to marry and to serve openly in the military.

“This is a major victory for gay civil rights,” said I. Glenn Cohen, a law professor at Harvard University who specializes in bioethics and health. “We’re leaving behind the old view that every gay man is a potential infection source." He said, however, that the policy was “still not rational enough."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "FDA to propose altering ban on gay and bisexual men who want to donate blood" by Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post 12/23/14

Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a telephone call with reporters Tuesday . . . “At this time, the scientific evidence is not compelling that we can change to anything less than a one-year deferral and still maintain the current level of safety of the blood supply,” he said.

“A ban of one year doesn’t really make sense, from a scientific or a medical perspective,” said Daniel Bruner, director of legal services at Whitman-Walker Health, a D.C. health-care provider that caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients. “It’s overly broad, in that you sweep in a lot of people who pose no risk whatsoever to the blood supply. And you are stigmatizing an entire population by telling people that they need to remain celibate for an entire year — whether they are monogamous, whether they practice safe sex, whether they are on medication like the prophylactic that makes the chance that they become infected almost zero.”

The Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, among other gay rights groups, also issued statements saying the policy change is welcome but does not go far enough.

Based on models that the FDA created, Marks said he expects about half of the would-be blood donors who are kept away because they have had sex with other men would become eligible to donate. He said he could not provide a number of men he expected would become eligible donors.

Men and women of any sexual orientation are barred from donating blood for a year after having sex with someone with HIV, with a commercial sex worker [prostitute, a.k.a. "whore"] or with an intravenous drug user.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 12/21/15: From "Gay men can once again donate blood — if they haven’t had sex for a year" by Brady Dennis, Washington Post

But some gay rights advocates were less than pleased with the 12-month deferral policy, which requires men who have sex with other men to remain abstinent for a year before giving blood. The National Gay Blood Drive, a group that has pushed for rolling back the decades-old ban, said that while it supports FDA’s updated approach, “the revised policy is still discriminatory.”

Daniel Bruner, senior policy director at the Whitman-Walker Health, a D.C. health-care provider that caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, said in an interview Monday that the deferral period should be no longer than 30 days, given the ability of current testing to detect an HIV infection soon after exposure. He also criticized the new guidelines for continuing a lifetime donation ban on individuals who have engaged in sex work or used non-prescription injection drugs.

Peter Marks, deputy director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told reporters Monday that the agency considered a range of approaches, but ultimately settled on the 12-month deferral window because it was backed by the most scientific evidence, and other large countries had adopted a similar approach. But he also called the change a "first step," saying the FDA will continue to conduct research and evaluate new data that emerges after the new approach goes into effect.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read President Obama Pays Pre-teens to Learn Anal Sex in Hawaii because he Wants an End to Abstinence, Favoring Anal Sex