This morning, Good Morning America ran an in-depth piece about Lukus Estok, a young gay man who had recovered from COVID-19, but was turned away from donating his plasma at the New York Blood Center because he is gay.
In a new statement to Good Morning America, an FDA spokesperson stated that “the FDA is committed to considering alternatives to the time-based deferral for men who have sex with men by generating the scientific evidence that will support an effective individual risk assessment-based blood donor questionnaire.”
The FDA also revealed to Good Morning America that it is “working to commence a pilot study that will enroll about 2000 men who have sex with men and who would be willing to donate blood.”
“The FDA is placing American lives on the line as they debate stigma, not science,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “During the current crisis, the FDA is wasting time and money on a pilot study when all the scientific research and medical authorities plainly state that gay and bi man should not be restricted from donating blood.”
“All blood donations, regardless of sexual orientation, are screened to ensure healthy samples and now the American Medical Association, leading elected officials, and more than 600 medical professionals have all done the work for the FDA and unequivocally state that this ban needs to end,” added Ellis.
On his Thursday evening broadcast of Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen revealed he was denied from giving plasma after surviving COVID-19.
He called out the FDA’s restrictions for being based on “stigma rather than science,” which is ultimately impeding on the urgent need for blood donations from Americans, as well as plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors.
Watch Andy Cohen’s impassioned speech here.
GLAAD thanked Andy on Twitter for speaking out against the ban:
Thank you @Andy for speaking out against the ban that prevents gay and bi men and others in the LGBTQ community from donating blood and plasma.
Sign our petition to #EndTheBloodBan: https://t.co/ucYj0CoOqW https://t.co/Hs46RpudLC
— GLAAD (@glaad) April 24, 2020
Earlier this week, attorney generals from 19 states and D.C. issued a letter to the Assistant Health Secretary, requesting that the FDA further loosen its ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
(via press release)