Washington, D.C. —
The federal government is going to take a hard look at the decades-old ban on gay men donating blood.
The government has refused to take blood from the group they call "men who have sex with men (MSM)" since the early 1980's. That group includes gay men, bisexual men, and even those who don't self-identify as being a member of those groups.
The goal was to stop the spread of HIV into the blood supply. But now, testing can accurately confirm whether a donation is carrying the virus.
On Tuesday, Health and Human Services announced that they are going to conduct an "evidence-based evaluation of the policy."
"This announcement by HHS means we're moving in the direction of finally ending this antiquated and discriminatory policy," said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois. "Senator Kerry and I will continue to push for a behavior-based screening process both in the name of fairness and a safer blood supply."
"We've been working on this a long time in a serious way and I'm glad Secretary Sebelius responded with concrete steps to finally remove this policy from the books," said Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). "HHS is doing their due-diligence and we plan to stay focused on the end game – a safe blood supply and an end to this discriminatory ban."