Ma., Vt. Senators: Lift ban on gays donating blood

WASHINGTON (AP) – Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and 17 colleagues are calling on the FDA to lift the lifetime ban on donating blood for any man who has had gay sex since 1977.

The senators say in a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that not a single piece of scientific evidence supports the ban.

Kerry was joined by 16 other Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. They stress that the science has changed dramatically since the ban was established in 1983 at the beginning of the HIV-AIDS crisis.

They say today donated blood must undergo two different, highly accurate tests that make the risk of tainted blood entering the blood supply virtually zero.

The policy was last reviewed in 2006. A representative of the nation's largest gay rights group says it hopes the policy will change under President Barack Obama.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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