In Light of National Blood Bank Shortage Due to COVID-19, Senator Wiener Calls on FDA to Allow LGBTQ+ People to Donate Blood

The FDA currently prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating blood if they’ve had sex in the past year
March 22, 2020

San Francisco - Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement calling on the FDA to end its discriminatory policy banning any gay or bisexual man, and any men who have had sex with other men in the past year, from donating blood. Sexually active straight people are not subject to this rule. 

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules, our blood banks are experiencing a severe blood shortage and desperately need blood donations. This blood shortage threatens lives. Yet, despite this emergency need, the FDA continues to take a non-science-based approach by irrationally excluding sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating.

“I, for one, would love to donate blood to help out in this time of need, but because I’m a gay man and have not been celibate for the past year, I’m prohibited. By contrast, a straight person who’s had sex with multiple partners in the past month can donate. The reality is that blood banks test all blood for HIV, and modern testing techniques are overwhelmingly accurate in detecting and discarding HIV-positive blood. We’re in a national and global healthcare emergency, and it’s all hands on deck. We need the FDA to take a science-based, rational approach to blood donation — and to end this discriminatory exclusion.”