This is a suck on part of the FDA. It is their guidelines that make it impossible for men who have sex with men "even once, since 1977", and women who have slept with said men, to donate blood.
This is crappy not only for people who want to donate but can't, but also for every American (and visitor!) who might someday need a blood transfusion - and that is a large segment of the population. The Red Cross is continuously sending me emails about shortages of blood. It might help those shortages, even just a little bit, if more people were eligible to donate.
This rule might have made more sense statistically many decades ago when HIV was largely confined to gay communities, but it makes much less sense now. I know gay men are still more likely to have HIV than the rest of the population, but much less so than before, and after all, they test ALL the blood for HIV before it gets pumped into someone else.
It just really bothers me that a person who has had unprotected sex with a LOT of partners and has never been tested for HIV can still donate, while a man in a monogamous gay relationship who has tested negative can't.
But perhaps there's a side of the story that I'm not aware of. Anyone have more information about this?