Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, KPSOM Founding Dean and CEO, penned an opinion piece published in the July 13, 2022, issue of USA Today that illuminates the history of the longstanding federal ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men (MSM) as World Blood Donor Day (June 14) approaches and the United States’ blood shortage crisis continues.
A pediatrician and father of two, Dr. Schuster shares how he and his husband were barred from providing their child with a much-needed blood transfusion years ago. “It wasn’t because we didn’t have the right blood type, but because of the type of people we are: gay men,” Schuster writes. In response to the AIDS epidemic, and in an effort to safeguard the country’s blood supply, in 1983 the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that gay and bisexual men be excluded from donating blood for life; the Food and Drug Administration made it official policy in 1992. The U.S. still maintains the ban, while other nations have evolved their policies to reflect present-day science.
In his editorial, Schuster urges the FDA to remove the discriminatory ban as the nation experiences the worst blood supply shortage in more than a decade, and he advises the regulatory organization to lean into science-based reforms that allow more people to safely donate to the blood supply.
Read the article here (subscription required).