pint of blood in plastic bag at Red Cross donation center

Miyashita Ochoa on Outdated Blood Donation Restrictions

Social Welfare faculty member Ayako Miyashita Ochoa spoke to ABC News about prospects that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will update its blood donation policy, which restricts participation by some members of the LGBTQ community. The policy has evolved over the years. In 1985, the FDA banned all donations from men who have sex with men in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Today, donations are accepted from gay and bisexual men who abstain from sex for 90 days. If a policy change is implemented, gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships will be able to donate without abstaining from sex. Implementing the change would help battle stigma and address future blood shortages. Research by Miyashita Ochoa found that eliminating the ban could increase the donation supply by 2% to 4%, bringing in more than 615,000 pints of blood every year. “That isn’t a small amount,” she said. “That 2 to 4% count is roughly calculated to a million lives saved.”


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