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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2010
6:12 PM

CONTACT: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Communications Director, isorensen@theTaskForce.org, 646.358.1463
Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator, pjserrano@theTaskForce.org, 646.358.1479

Task Force: End the Archaic FDA Blood Ban Now

WASHINGTON - June 9 - At a press conference today, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called for an end to the Food and Drug Administration's lifetime ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man since 1977.

At its June 10-11 meeting, the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability will review the FDA's decades-long ban. It is estimated that 219,000 more pints of blood could be available annually if the blanket ban is lifted.

The Task Force and nearly 50 other groups have signed a joint letter to the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability saying "it is our opinion that this lifetime deferral for men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood is outdated and discriminatory and we strongly urge the Advisory Committee to recommend a revision of this policy."

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The lifting of the lifetime ban on blood donations from all men who have sex with men will remove a federally sanctioned stigma and send a strong, clear message that this systemic, blatant and blanket discrimination will not be tolerated. The most critical issue is to ensure that the blood supply is safe and abundant, and this means maximizing the potential donor pool and making sure all donors are screened appropriately and assessed based on actual behavioral risk independent of their sexual orientation. It is long past time to end this archaic, knee-jerk practice and replace it with a fair, humane and sensible blood donor policy. Lives will be saved when this ban ends."

Download the Task Force's full comments from today's press conference

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.



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