Fenway & MMS to FDA: Changing blood donor policy for gay men – The Rainbow Times | New England’s Largest LGBTQ Newspaper | Boston

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Massachusetts Medical Society and Fenway Institute urge FDA to change blood donor policy for men who have sex with men

Our country’s healthcare system continues to face a myriad of challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which are complex and will likely take a long time to address and correct, according to the Fenway Institute.

However, one of the most pressing problems in delivering quality care can be alleviated by repealing a policy that is discriminatory and not based on sound science. Physicians from the Massachusetts Medical Society and Fenway Institute are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke its policy on unnecessary screening and subsequent exclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood – a simple and safe step that will increase a blood supply that is dangerously low in all healthcare settings. While we are grateful for a recent FDA change that shortened the period of abstinence from sex required for MSM wishing to donate blood from one year to 90 days, we believe the time has come to lift all these limitations.

The dangerous shortage of donor blood and blood products in the country poses a serious risk to the health of our patients, whether they suffer from chronic diseases that may require donor blood or are in acute need of treatment. vital requiring an emergency transfusion.

The pandemic has rightly prompted an increased effort to educate the public about the importance of science as it relates to health care. Scientific advances have greatly improved blood screening and there remains no evidence to suggest that including MSM in the group of available blood donors poses an increased risk of adverse effects for patients who need them.

The Medical Society and Fenway Institute are recommending federal policy changes to ensure that blood donation bans or deferrals are applied to donors based on their individual risk level, not based on sexual orientation or gender. other personal characteristics. An immediate policy change will help us care for our patients and save lives while overturning an arbitrary rule that does nothing to advance public health and exacerbates stigma against members of the LGBTQ community.

[From a News Release]

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