13 June 2016
The Orlando shooting and the FDA's blood donation policy
I don't like the FDA. I really, really, don't like the FDA (but that's a subject for another day). Nonetheless, the FDA, as advised by the FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee and the HHS Advisory Committee for Blood Safety and Availability (now the HHS Advisory Committee for Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability), determined in December 2015 that it would only accept blood donations from men who have had sex with other men (MSM) if they did not have MSM contact within the last 12 months (the previous policy was an outright lifetime ban on such donations). It's unfortunate that such men who are willing to donate are not permitted to donate blood under the circumstances, but those committees that advise the FDA are made up of practicing doctors who specialize in these issues. They presumably have very good reasons for making these recommendations. Good medical reasons. You know, like science stuff. As much as I really, really, don't like the FDA, I trust the recommendations of these doctors more so than I trust the well-meaning recommendations of random people on social media. If you believe you have compelling reasons why the FDA should change course, I'm sure they've love to hear from you.