Why Shouldn’t Gays Give Blood?

The American Medical Association voted this week to oppose the long-standing ban on gay men donating blood. Nora Caplan-Bricker suggests alternatives:

There’s another way to keep the blood supply safe. In 2010, the AIDS advocacy group the Gay Men’s Health Crisis released a report that recommended, among other things, surveying all potential donors for risky behavior. That way, a heterosexual donor who has unprotected sex with multiple partners gets flagged, while a homosexual man who has been in a monogamous relationship for 20 years gets to give. The report notes a few countries that screen donors this way. In Sweden (which also has a one-year deferral policy), donors are deferred for three months after sleeping with a new partner; in France, a person is automatically deferred four months for having unprotected sex. And, both of these windows align with the timeframe of an HIV test, which is considered fail proof at about three months—no need to wait a year.