Current Affairs

Red Cross re-thinks gay blood donation policy

Katherine Knowles March 23, 2006
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The American red cross are considering repealing a 16 year old ban, preventing gay people from giving blood. It announced that providing the person has not had sex for a year, gay blood donations should be accepted.

The American Food and Drug Administration must now undertake a risk assessment process that could see the ban lifted within the next 6 months.

Though the American Red Cross decided in 2000 to reaffirm a ban which prevents gay men who have had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood, new HIV detection tests have made it unnecessary.

A spokesperson from the Red Cross noted: “It does not appear rational to treat gay sex differently from straight sex.”

The ban was first imposed due to concerns that a small percentage of HIV positive blood was going undetected through the blood screening process. The blood could go on to infect the recipient, it was feared.

The Red Cross is responsible for collecting 45% of America’s blood donation supply, and finds it hard to keep up with the demand. The organisation makes $2.1 billion from selling blood and blood products in the US last year, which it spends on its charitable and aid relief missions. More blood equals more profit for the Red Cross, meaning more people can be helped in times of need.

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