The National LGBTQ Task Force drafted and submitted comments to the FDA on the 2015 Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products. The FDA’s new guidance represented the most recent revision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1992. The Task Force comments emphasize that in the past 33 years, the U.S. has made significant advancements in research, detection, and treatment of HIV. However, despite these scientific achievements affecting HIV/AIDS, the FDA’s proposals maintain discriminatory practices in their deferral policies for men who have sex with men (MSM), people who have injected drugs (PWID), and people who have engaged in sex work (PSW). The comments recommend several changes to the FDA’s donor deferral policy that would reduce harmful stigma towards marginalized groups of people and more accurately reflect the nation’s scientific knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
The Task Force was joined on the comments to the FDA by The Center for HIV Law and Policy, Athlete Ally, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Marriage Equality USA, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
The Center for HIV Law and Policy endorses the Task Force comments as the only advocacy document from an LGBTQ organization that addresses not only the FDA's scientifically unsupported donation deferral of gay men, but the equally discriminatory life-time deferral of individuals with any history, however remote in time, of intravenous drug use or sex work.