Two Florida Congressmen demand accountability in research on gay blood ban

By : Susan Clary
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Two Florida Democratic Congressmen have signed on to a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding accountability for research into the ban on blood donations by gay men.

Representatives Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Alcee L. Hastings of Fort Lauderdale joined 82 other U.S. Senators and House members in signing the letter, which expresses concern with the timeline of the work.

The American Medical Association adopted a resolution opposing the Food and Drug Administration’s current lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men in favor of using individual risk factors rather than sexual orientation.

The Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, a non-partisan group of scientific experts convened by the HHS, currently has three studies and a task force ongoing. Additional reports, white papers and studies are due to be released in 2013-2014. Elected officials plan to use the information gathered to make policy decisions.

The letter, written by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), asks Sebelius to provide information regarding what work has been done to reassess the blood ban this past year and the agency’s future plans.

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