WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family Research Council praised today's decision by the federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability to reject any change in current blood donation rules. Current policy provides that men who have had sex with men at any time since 1977 are permanently "deferred" from acting as blood donors, because of the high rates of HIV infection in that population. The panel, which offers non-binding advice to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, voted 9-6 on Friday afternoon against recommending any immediate change in the policy.
Peter Sprigg, FRC's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, offered testimony to the panel prior to the vote, urging that the current policy be maintained.
After the vote, Sprigg said, "Commonsense has triumphed over political correctness, an increasingly rare but very welcome occurrence. This panel heard a day and a half of testimony, including the latest research on HIV risks in the blood supply, but in the end they recognized that there is no alternative screening policy that can be shown to maintain the safety of the nation's blood supply."
In his testimony, Sprigg noted, "The principal motivation of those who seek a change in the current policy is to reduce what they perceive as 'discrimination' against homosexual or bisexual men. … However, the blood donation policy does not exist to serve socio-political purposes, nor should it be changed to advance them."
A change in the permanent deferral policy for men who have sex with men had been urged by homosexual activist groups such as the Gay Men's Health Crisis and a group of liberal members of Congress, led by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). "Social and political concerns about 'discrimination' and 'stigma' cannot be allowed to trump the health of those who need life-saving blood transfusions," Sprigg declared.
The Food and Drug Administration's website states, "Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence … 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors."
Click here to watch video of Peter Sprigg's testimony.
SOURCE Family Research Council