Ten members of Congress have written the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reexamine its ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

The letter was drafted by Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, and signed by ten members of Congress, including two of Congress' three openly gay members – U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo.

Aviva Gibbs, communications director for Quigley, told On Top Magazine in an email that the congressman “felt [the ban on gay blood donation] was another important part of the fight against discrimination and wanted to encourage the FDA to bring their policies up to date.”

In the letter, Quigley called on the FDA to “reexamine its antiquated, discriminatory deferral policy that currently prevents healthy, disease-free men who have had sex with other men from donating blood” and called the agency's policy on donating blood “inconsistent.”

“The FDA's current policy permanently bans men who have had sex with men from donating blood, while still permitting heterosexual individuals who have had sex with an HIV-positive partner to donate samples after a one-year deferral period.”

“For many individuals this permanent ban is seen as unfair, discriminatory and serving to simply perpetuate the negative stereotype that all men who have sex with men are HIV positive,” the letter says.

The FDA first banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood at the height of an AIDS transfusion scare in the 80's. Since then, Quigley argues, scientific advances allowing for the proper screening of blood for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have kept the nation's blood supply safe.

The letter was addressed to the recently sworn-in FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, a former New York City Commissioner of Health known for her progressive views on combating the AIDS pandemic, including opposing abstinence-only AIDS education and supporting needle exchange programs.