Andy Cohen has ‘robust’ antibodies which could help save lives from coronavirus. The problem? He can’t donate because he’s gay
Andy Cohen has spoken of the “extreme disappointment” he felt when he found out he wasn’t allowed to donate plasma because of his sexuality.
The Watch What Happens Live host was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this year and wanted to do something positive to help others.
He decided to donate his antibody-rich blood – but he had his hopes dashed when he found out that gay and bisexual men are not allowed to donate blood in the United States unless they abstain from sex for a three month period.
“It is discriminatory. I don’t understand it,” he told The View.
Andy Cohen couldn’t donate his ‘robust’ antibodies after surviving COVID-19 because of his sexuality.
“I’m HIV-negative,” he continued. “You can find that out and you can test my blood a couple times before putting it into a system.”
After he recovered from COVID-19, Cohen’s doctor told him he had “robust” antibodies which could help others battle the illness. But because he is gay, that opportunity was stripped from him.
“The doctor said, ‘Oh my God, your antibodies are so robust,’ which she found to be highly unusual four months after having originally testing positive for COVID,” Cohen said.
I’m HIV-negative. You can find that out and you can test my blood a couple times before putting it into a system.
“I thought, ‘What a loss. Here I have these robust antibodies and I can’t share my plasma and possibly help anybody.’ So, extreme disappointment,” he continued. “I think that this is something that I’ve been speaking up about because I think that… we need help here.”
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Up until April 2 of this year, gay and bisexual men in the United States had to abstain from sex for a 12-month period in order to be eligible to donate blood.
That policy was then amended, with a three-month celibacy requirement introduced instead.
Cohen has previously lashed out at the policy, calling it “antiquated” in April.
People are dying, but sexually active queer men still can’t donate blood.
“I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I’m a gay man,” he said at the time.
“Even the new relaxed rules require gay men to abstain from sex for three months, whether they’re in a monogamous relationship or not, before giving blood, though no such blanket restrictions exist for people of other sexual orientations.
“Why are members from my community being excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying?” he asked.
“Maybe because we’re valuing stigma over science, I don’t know. My blood could save a life but instead it’s over here boiling.”