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FDA to let some gay men donate blood

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-23 20:40:20-05

After a 30 year ban on blood donations, the FDA said Tuesday that it will recommend that some gay men be allowed to donate blood.

"The FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in a statement.

Currently, any man who has had sex with another man is barred for life from donating blood. Under the new policy being developed for 2015, they can donate if they have not had “sexual contact” within the past year.

Gay men were banned from donating blood since the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, a practice criticized as discriminatory and unnecessary due to blood screening technology.

A majority of Americans living with HIV are gay or bisexual men, who make up 2 percent of the population, according to the CDC. Infections among young gay men have been on the rise in recent years.

Reuters reports the new policy will increase the yearly blood supply by hundreds of thousands of pints.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.