(Some) gay men can give blood

FDA lifts decades-long ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced it has lifted its ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood, though it will keep blocking donations from men who have had sex with another man within the last 12 months.

The FDA originally instituted the ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic when testing for the human immunodeficiency virus was slower and less accurate, according to The New York Times. Now, tests can detect HIV in the bloodstream as quickly as nine days after infection.

Some rights groups say moving to the 12-month restriction is too incremental, as it prevents sexually active gay or bisexual men from giving blood. The 12-month deferral period also applies to people who have traveled to places where malaria is common and heterosexuals who’ve had sex with prostitutes or people who inject drugs.