Lifting of Blood Donation Ban Will Save Lives, Address Stigma
Ayako Miyashita Ochoa of the UCLA Luskin Social Welfare faculty wrote an article for The Conversation on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s easing of restrictions on blood donation by gay and bisexual men. The last documented HIV transmission through a U.S. donor’s blood occurred nearly 15 years ago, Miyashita Ochoa wrote. While precautions around HIV exposure were reasonable in the 1980s, “the science has changed,” she said. The lifting of the ban will lead to an estimated 2% to 4% increase in the blood supply, potentially saving more than a million lives. She added, “Removing gender and sexual orientation from the risk assessment for blood donation will take the U.S. one step further in addressing stigma and discrimination against men who have sex with men.” Miyashita Ochoa also discussed the issue on WOSU’s “All Sides” (beginning at minute 37), commenting that COVID-19-era blood shortages spurred the move toward science-based policies that ensure that supplies are safe and sufficient for the nation’s health needs.
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