Out celebrity Andy Cohen has said that
he was turned away from donating blood because he's gay, despite the
desperate need for blood during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cohen, who recently recovered from the
disease, said that his blood was more valuable because it could help
save the lives of COVID-19 patients. Doctors hope that administering
plasma from recovered patients will speed up recovery for the sickest
COVID-19 patients. The therapy has worked with other diseases.
Cohen says it took him 11 days to get over COVID-19.)
Earlier this month, the FDA relented to
pressure from HIV and LGBT advocacy groups and shortened the time men
who have sex with men have to wait before donating blood from 12
months to 3.
says he wasn't involved in decision to ease ban on gay men donating
"I signed up for a program for
COVID-19 survivors where you could donate plasma, which is rich in
antibodies, to those still battling the virus," Cohen said on
Thursday's episode of Watch What Happens Live. "I was
told that, due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA
to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I'm a gay
The FDA is saying “there is an urgent
need for plasma from survivors,” he
“Even the new relaxed rules require
gay men to abstain from sex for three months, whether they're in a
monogamous relationship or not, before giving blood, though no such
blanket restrictions exist for people of other sexual orientations,”
Cohen argued that the blood ban was
outdated because all blood is screened for HIV and a rapid HIV test
gives results in 20 minutes.
“So, why the three-month rule?”
Cohen rhetorically asked. “Why are members from my community being
excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying?
Maybe because we're valuing stigma over science? I don't know. My
blood could save a life but instead it's over here boiling.”