In December, the FDA revealed it would be ending a lifetime ban on gay men who seek to donate blood, and today, the agency has released its proposal. The FDA will unveil its final guidance after 60 days of public comment, the Huffington Post reports. While gay rights advocates say the move is a "step in the right direction," major concerns remain, they say. The plan would require men to refrain from donating for at least a year after sex with another man. NBC News notes that blood tests still can't detect the most recent infections, and the FDA is trying to play it safe. But the agency notes that "no transmissions of HIV, hepatitis B virus, or hepatitis C virus have been documented through US-licensed plasma-derived products in the past two decades."
And the system, the Huffington Post notes, could effectively leave a ban in place; people in long-term sexual relationships, for example, wouldn't be able to donate under the proposed guidelines. "This is a first step in ending an outdated policy that is medically and scientifically unwarranted, but it doesn’t go far enough," says Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin; California Rep. Mike Honda echoes her concerns in an email to the Advocate. " The FDA’s message is clear: ‘If you can stop being gay, stop being bisexual, for one year, then you can donate blood,'" he writes. A representative for the Human Rights Campaign agrees, saying the plan "falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men." (Read more gay rights stories.)