FDA relaxes rules on who can donate as COVID-19 cancels blood drives

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As blood donations have dropped across the country due to the corona virus pandemic San Francisco lawmakers are drawing attention to federal rules that limit gay and bisexual blood donations KPFA is Daniel when he has the story senator Scott Wiener launch they give for a gay blood drive where people can donate their blood on behalf of the gay and bisexual men who are currently banned by the FDA from doing so Wiener says this needs to change especially in light of a blood shortage resulting from covert nineteen so there is no scientific basis whatsoever to restrict gay and bisexual men from giving blood it is irrational it's discriminatory and it undermines our ability to get people to donate blood it's leaving millions of people al healthy people who want to donate blood to support their community Weiner says the ban was put in place after the HIV epidemic in nineteen seventy seven regulators ruled that gay men could donate blood only if they abstain from intercourse with another man for one year after the corona virus outbreak Weiner wrote a letter to the FDA urging a chain the FDA this month's reduce the limitations allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they abstain from having sex for the last three months Wiener says it's still a ban San Francisco mayor London breed agrees she donated blood on behalf of senator Wiener mayor breed says people should not be restricted on how they can help their community based on who they love just think about it Scott Wiener is a state senator here in California and is prohibited from giving blood the person who is leading our public health charge Dr grant Colfax because he is gay can not give blood even though he is the person in the city spear heading the public health response to keep all San Franciscans safe supervisor Rafael man a man who is here today who serves on the board of supervisors and works tirelessly for the residents of San Francisco incredible people incredible leaders a desire to serve and because of these outdated restrictions by the FDA they can't serve their city and their country in this way breed says policies needs to evolve with the times and look the covert nineteen outbreak is the time when people need to help each other in any way they can San Francisco supervisor Catherine Stefani says that the FDA needs to end the ban if they want to help the epidemic if the FDA is serious about addressing our covert nineteen blood shortage it needs to fully put aside is discriminatory restrictions immediately some city policy makers have had first hand experience of being turned away from blood donation drives Tom temprano the vice president of the San Francisco City College Board of trustees says he was rejected when he tried to serve his community by giving blood when he was in high school she describes the moment during the blood drive when he was asked if he'd had intercourse with the same sex I had worked very hard and enjoyed a lot to come out as a high school student and was not gonna go back into the closet just to donate blood and so I answered honestly and I said yes I have and the full bottom mist was stunned and told me I'm sorry but you can't donate blood no other students in my high school was told that they could not donate blood and it it just my stomach fell I called my lesbian arts that night crying because I couldn't understand why the government what a let me help out and wouldn't let me participate in this and the fact that fifteen years later I still can't donate improviser Rafael Mandel man the sole gay man on the board of supervisors has authored a resolution urging the FDA to lift its ban on sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating

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