For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Equality California Disappointed with Lack of Real Reform in FDA's Proposed Change to Blood Donor Deferral Policy for Men Who Have Sex with Men

LOS ANGELES - Equality California, the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization in California, today issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on the agency's intention to reduce the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. The agency today recommended a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

"We're extremely disappointed with the FDA's announcement today, which does not represent real reform based on modern science and risk factors," said Rick Zbur, EQCA executive director. "Instead, this proposed policy change appears to be mere window dressing designed to pacify the LGBT community and other policy critics without implementing any real change. The reality is that this revised policy would continue to discriminate against gay and bisexual men with low risk factors based on their sexual orientation and would continue to unnecessarily prevent countless gay and bisexual men from making life-saving donations to the nation's blood supply."

In October, EQCA launched a mobilization campaign to urge the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to end the discriminatory lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. EQCA’s campaign called “Every Drop Counts” is mobilizing the LGBT community and its allies, who have already sent thousands of emails and letters to the FDA calling for an end to the ban. EQCA will continue to mobilize the LGBT community to call on the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to end this discriminatory ban.


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Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.

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