Family Research Council Warns Against FDA Recommendation to Allow Men Who Have Sex With Men to Donate Blood

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 23, 2014
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Alice Chao, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Family Research Council (FRC) objected to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for recommending that men who have sex with men (MSM) be permitted to donate blood one year after their last sexual contact. Current policy requires a lifetime deferral of any man who has had sex with another man, even once, since 1977. FRC's Peter Sprigg noted that those in the MSM category have a significantly elevated risk of HIV infection.

Peter Sprigg, FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, gave public comment regarding this policy at the December 2 meeting of the FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee. That committee discussed proposals to change the current policy, but took no vote on whether to recommend such a change.

Mr. Sprigg issued the following statement today:

“Members of the Blood Products Advisory Committee were clearly reluctant to recommend any change to the current policy in the absence of a national program of comprehensive monitoring of the entire blood transfusion system from donor to recipient.

“Research presented to the Committee confirmed the dramatically elevated risk of HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM)—a risk 62 times higher than in the general public. This risk certainly justifies the highest level of vigilance, and political and social concerns must not be allowed to trump the public health.

“It is shocking that the FDA did not even wait for a recommendation from their own Advisory Committee before rushing to the politically correct decision demanded by homosexual activist groups. Yet the Obama administration has apparently dragged its heels in implementing this important safeguard, which should be a pre-requisite to any change in policy,” Sprigg concluded.