The Food and Drug Administration announced that gay and bisexual men can now donate blood, but only if they haven’t had sex with a man in one year.

The 12-month wait period is best supported by scientific evidence, says deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Men who have sex with men were banned from donating blood in 1983 because of the fear of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The donated blood is screened, but blood tests can test negative for 9 days after a person has contracted HIV.

Gay men in monogamous relationships are less likely to contract HIV than promiscuous heterosexuals. By restricting gay and bisexual men from donating blood, it propagates the stigma that HIV is a “gay disease”.

Perhaps the science will allow the FDA to lessen these donation restrictions in the future.

For more:

NPR: FDA lifts ban on gay and bisexual men

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