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Warren demands US ends ban on blood donations from gay men

Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking the federal government to speed its review of the current ban on gay men donating blood.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking the federal government to speed its review of the current ban on gay men donating blood.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking the federal government to speed its review of the current ban on gay men donating blood.

Warren’s office said she and a core group of four other lawmakers co-wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, signed by more than 80 colleagues, after a constituent from Roslindale complained to her that his blood had been rejected for donation after the Marathon bombings. Senator Edward Markey and Representatives Jim McGovern, John Tierney and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts all signed on as well.

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“For me, this has been a basic issue of fairness and of science. Blood donation policies should be grounded in science, not ugly and inaccurate stereotypes,” Warren said in a statement.

The letter to HHS cites a recent resolution from the American Medical Association asking that the ban be lifted “in favor of a policy based on individual risk factors other than sexual orientation.”

The letter says that science around HIV/AIDS has changed since the epidemic began more than three decades ago.

The letter “express[es] concern” with the pace of HHS’s review of the current policy and requests documents, criteria, and plans for finishing the review.

The American Association of Blood Banks, the Red Cross, and American’s Blood Centers have been in favor of a policy change since 2006, according to Warren’s office.

A request for comment from HHS was not immediately provided.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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