Panel Discussion, re: MSM blood donors

When: Thursday, February 25 @ 12:30 p.m.

Where: Law School Student Conference Center (Lisner 201)

Directions: Located between 20th and 21st on G Street NW. The name of the building is above the doorway. Once inside, go to the second floor. The room is marked by glass doors at the top of the stairs.

LUNCH PROVIDED BY POTBELLY’S

Panelists: Lisa Swinton McLaughlin, MD, JD
Senior Medical Officer
American Red Cross

Andrew Dayton, MD
Medical Officer
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Please join us this for an exciting panel discussion regarding the FDA’s lifetime ban on blood product donation from men who have sex with men. Under current guidelines, last put out for public comment in 2007, the FDA prohibits any man from donating blood if they have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977. This clearly excludes a large segment of potential donors.

Proponents of revising the ban point to the fact that medical and scientific knowledge about HIV has improved dramatically since the ban was first created in the early 1980s. Screening tests are now capable of detecting the virus in blood much sooner after infection. For this reason, even a person that has had unprotected sex with another person of unknown HIV status is only banned for six months. This fact leads advocates to think that the FDA is discriminating solely on the basis of sexual orientation, not infection-based risk.

The FDA remains concerned that revising the ban may reduce the quality of the nation’s blood supply. While gay men are an extreme minority in the population, they represent a large proportion of those infected with HIV.

The panelists will represent the two sides of this debate and answer questions.

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