WE PETITION THE UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
Dear Commissioner Hamburg:
Men who have sex with men (MsM) have been banned from donating bone marrow since 1985. Today, there are medical tests that insure that MsM pose no more risk than any other man or woman.
We the undersigned request the repeal of Section IV. E.1 of the FDA Guidance for Industry: Eligibility Determination for Donors of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products, which states: “you should determine to be ineligible any potential donor who exhibits one or more of the following conditions or behaviors, (specifically) Men who have had sex with another man in the preceding 5 years .”
Under current FDA guidelines, gay men are not allowed to donate bone marrow unless they have been celibate for at least five years.
In 1985, when AIDS was perceived as a “gay disease,” the Food and Drug Administration enacted a requirement that men who had sexual relations with a another man after 1977 would not be allowed to donate bone marrow. The policy was later revised so that gay and bisexual men who had been celibate for five years would be allowed to donate bone marrow, a policy that is still in place to this day. But HIV testing procedures have improved dramatically since 1985.
The FDA has certified that approved laboratory HIV tests have a 100% chance of detecting HIV infection if performed after a three-month incubation period, and there are tests that only need an 8-9 day incubation period.
This means that you can be tested for HIV today and get a useful result as long as you abstain from risky behavior for two weeks prior to testing.
Bone Marrow Transplant is the only effective long-term treatment for tens of thousands of people, world wide.
These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope of a cure.
For a patient’s body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match.
But finding a well-matched marrow donor can be very difficult.
Patients need donors who are a genetic match. Even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match. Seventy Percent of patients do not have a donor in their family.
Eliminating men who have had sex with men from the potential bone marrow donor pool has caused needless death for patients who might otherwise have been matched. Today, in 2010, this senseless and discriminatory policy must be changed.
Help increase life saving bone marrow transplants and equal treatment towards all those who give of their hearts and bodies to help others.