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Why Most Gay Men Still Aren’t Allowed to Donate Blood

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Jose Rhoades
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Last night, a gunman killed at least 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando and wounded dozens more.

As volunteers this morning lined up to donate blood for the victims, one of the Food and Drug Administration s most controversial policies came into focus: Men who have had sex with other men in the past year are not allowed to give blood.

Scientists knew little about the new virus, and fear was running high.

A standard test that looks for an immune response to HIV can find infections after about a 25 day window.

As critics have pointed out, these revised recommendations would rule out gay men in monogamous relationships—but still allow heterosexual men or women who have had multiple sexual partners in the past year to donate blood.

Since Italy switched to individual risk assessments to screen blood donors in 2001, the country has not had any major uptick in HIV infections.

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Jose Rhoades
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