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FDA could change rules so gay and bisexual men could donate blood

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jan 30, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Ricky De La Cerda used to donate blood and plasma until he was diagnosed with HIV in 2005. After that, he was disqualified from donating.

“The Southern Arizona area has a lot of people willing to donate blood in any situation whether they were LGBTQ or not,” De La Cerda said.

He’s also gay and said having HIV can come with a stigma, saying, “Not everyone who sleeps with men is HIV positive either.”

He said the FDA’s current rules for donating blood are outdated.

“They’re being indiscriminately discriminate. Like they’re being very specific,” he said.

He said there is already enough treatment so HIV positive men can’t pass on the virus, so he said there should be enough technology to test blood donations.

The FDA is considering changing the blood donation guidelines for gay and bisexual men so that they don’t have to abstain from sex, but instead take a questionnaire that would consider them as a a candidate to donate.

The FDA’s questionnaire might be changed to ask potential donors about their sexual partners in the past 3 months. If potential donors have more than one sexual partner, they will asked about their sexual activity. If they had anal sex with them, they would not be able to donate blood.

If they are approved, this could mean more blood donations for men who are HIV positive with blood conditions.

“We need it during surgeries, there are certain blood diseases that they need transfusions for,” De La Cerda said.

The American Red Cross tells KGUN9 if the FDA does change the rules, they will make the changes as quick as they can.

De La Cerda said if gay and bisexual men could donate, it would give more blood to blood banks

“We live in a time and period that we have enough medical advancements that they could figure out a way for everyone to donate blood,” he said.

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Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing andrew.christiansen@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.