AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians

Congress rethinks ban on gay blood donation in wake of shortage

Congress rethinks ban on gay blood donation in wake of shortage

With blood donations down more than 10 percent across the country this summer, Congress is hoping to bolster donations by finally lifting the more than 30-year ban excluding men who have sex with men (MSM) from blood banks.

Legislators led by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., have authored a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services encouraging it to study the ongoing necessity of the ban. The ban was initiated by the Food and Drug Administration in the wake of the AIDS crisis in 1977 when medicine lacked an easy and reliable test to detect HIV in donated blood.

While gay men still are at a higher risk of HIV infection today, more advanced screening technology may render the ban unwarranted. "This is a matter of life and death, and we are turning away over 50,000 healthy men who want to donate blood," Quigley said in an interview with CNN. 

AMA policy recognizes the supportability of a revision to the lifetime referral for blood donation of the MSM population.

APA task force: Position on gender identity disorder should reflect AMA policy

An American Psychiatric Association (APA) task force charged with creating uniform guidelines on diagnosing and treating gender identity disorder is calling for the APA's position statement to mirror AMA policy on transgender care.

In a report published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the APA Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder points to AMA policy supporting insurance coverage for medically necessary treatment for individuals diagnosed with gender identity disorder. The task force recommends that the APA adopt a similar position and issue other statements in support of the rights of gender variant persons.