THE FDA SHOULD LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON GAY BLOOD DONORS.

Author:Davis, Zuri
Position::REGULATION
 
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JERRY RABINOWITZ, 66, lost his life in the October mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. According to his nephew, Rabinowitz was shot and killed while searching for victims in need of a doctor. Those who knew him as a physician remembered his dedication to patients and were not surprised he remained committed to helping those in need until the very last seconds of his life.

There is a cruel irony in Rabinowitz's death: He had spent his career treating gay men with HIV and AIDS, yet many gay men were not permitted to help the victims of the Tree of Life massacre. Following the tragedy, city officials asked for blood donations to assist in treating the wounded--but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily restricts gay men from donating blood, even if they have tested negative for HIV.

For decades, the agency prevented men who have sex with other men from donating blood under any circumstances, thanks to concerns about the spread of HIV, which had a long dormancy period and could be difficult to detect. But thanks to scientific innovation, screening for the virus has significantly improved. In 2010, the FDA conceded that the previous policy was "suboptimal" in that it allowed "some potentially high risk donations while preventing some potentially low risk donations." In 2015, it eased restrictions slightly to allow gay men who had not engaged in...

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