COTT News, Joint Statement

Joint Statement on Addressing the MSM Blood Ban by Groups Representing People Living with Hemophilia, Gay Men and People Living with HIV/AIDS. The Department of Health & Human Services, Advisory Committee On Blood Safety and Availability will consider June 11 revision of the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy recommending that men who have sex with another man (MSM) even one time since 1977 should be deferred indefinitely from donating blood.

In the following joint letter advocacy organizations representing both the Gay & Lesbian Communities and the Plasma User Communities have signed on to demonstrate their past and ongoing ability to work together on issues surrounding the safety of our nation’s blood and the most efficient and effective way to ensure the overall safety of this precious national resource, blood:

As the Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA) prepares to evaluate the longstanding deferral of all men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood, the organizations listed below wish to clarify a recently encountered misperception.  Advocates invested in any change of such a policy report a perceived disconnect between the positions of leading gay rights and hemophilia representatives. We reject this notion.

The communities have more in common than current discourse reflects.  Both gay men and people with hemophilia have been disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. Critical advancements in HIV prevention, treatment, and research can be linked directly to the years of successful advocacy by both communities.  For most of the past quarter century, these two communities have worked toward shared goals, including caring for people living with HIV and preventing the virus’s spread.

The organizations listed below continue to share a strong commitment to the safety of our nation's blood supply and it is with this in mind that we urge the ACBSA to recommend any scientific research that is necessary to allow for the thoughtful consideration of alternative policies regarding donor deferral. We look forward to working with the Advisory Committee, and the broader federal government, to critically examine and evaluate alternative polices for MSM blood donors that maintain or enhance the safety of blood and blood products.

AIDS Action Council AmFAR Committee of Ten Thousand Gay Men's Health Crisis Hemophilia Federation of America Human RIghts Campaign National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Hemophilia Foundation World Federation of Hemophilia

Originally published on 06-19-2008

COTT News, Advisory Committee Votes

Advisory Committee Votes to Retain Current Blood Donor Bans. The federal Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee On Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA) voted 9 to 6 on June 11th to make no change in the current deferral policy banning men who have sex with another man, even once, since 1977 from ever donating blood.  The Committee in addition proposed a research agenda of studies to be undertaken, both to shed further light on reviews of the several deferral bans, and to undergird these and other efforts to increase the safety of the blood supply. more.

For example, the ACBSA focused on the risks of unknown pathogens, the need for more data regarding high HIV transmission rates, and improving earlier awareness of emergent pathogens. COTT thanks Dr. Holmberg, Secretary of the Committee and Acting Chair for this meeting, for a well run and productive meeting inclusive of a wide range of perspectives, including the end users. We would also like to thank our friends at Gay Mens Health Crisis and commend them for a job well done before the ACBSA.

Originally published on 06-09-2010