CNN Host Laments HIV Patients Not Allowed to Donate Blood

News & Politics

On Thursday morning, CNN promoted the politically correct cause of making it easier for gay men to donate blood as CNN This Morning devoted a segment to the topic. Setting up the discussion, co-host Poppy Harlow even seemed to complain that Americans who are HIV positive (most of whom are gay men) are not allowed to donate blood.

After noting that it was World AIDS Day, she recalled that “there are approximately 1.2 million people living in the U.S. with HIV today, many of them restricted on when they can donate blood,” and then added: “but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering revising their donor criteria, moving away from blanket assessments about donors to ones that consider risk for transmitting HIV.”

Harlow then looked happy as she brought aboard CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula and added: “This is fascinating. Our Dr. Tara Narula is here. What’s changing?”

Dr. Narula informed viewers that, since the FDA ban on “MSM” (men having sex with men) donating blood was put in effect in the 1980s, in recent years some gay men have been allowed to donate blood if they have abstained from sex for months — which is considered unreasonable by the left. It used to be 12 months, but since Covid hit, it’s been shortened to three months. There is no restriction for women having sex with women.

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The doctor recounted recent complaints that “stigma” is the reason for the partial ban: “Now, a lot of groups — the American Medical Association, the Red Cross — in fact, 500 doctors and health care professionals — wrote an open letter back in 2020 saying, ‘Look, these policies are based on stigma, not science.'”

After recalling that HIV can be detected more quickly now than in decades past, leading other countries to also allow gay men to donate, the CNN hosts concluded by rejoicing that “stigma” might no longer prevent gays from donating blood:

HARLOW: Science over stigma —

Dr. NARULA: Correct.

HARLOW: – is the direction finally.

Dr. NARULA: Finally.

DON LEMON: Thank you, Doctor.

COLLINA: Thanks, Doctor.

LEMON: I appreciate it so much.

While Harlow’s initial suggestion that known HIV patients might be allowed to donate blood was probably a flub or sloppy write-up in the teleprompter, CNN host Anderson Cooper back in 2016 suggested that it would, in fact, be acceptable for those who are HIV positive to donate blood as long as they were taking medication as he also devoted a segment to pushing the issue.

This politically correct episode of CNN This Morning was sponsored in part by Liberty Mutual. Their contact information is linked.

Transcripts follow:

CNN This Morning

December 1, 2022

8:06 a.m. Eastern

POPPY HARLOW: Okay, it is — did you know? — World AIDS Day today, and there are approximately 1.2 million people living in the U.S. with HIV today, many of them restricted on when they can donate blood, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering revising their donor criteria, moving away from blanket assessments about donors to ones that consider risk for transmitting HIV. This is fascinating. Our Dr. Tara Narula is here. What’s changing?

Dr. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so let’s take a little bit of a look back historically. And so, in the early ’80s — around 1985 — is when we first saw this ban on men who have sex with men. So from 1985 until 2015, they were not allowed to donate blood at all. And this was really born out of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. And then in 2015, the FDA changed its plan and said, actually, you can, if you’re a man who has sex with another man, donate blood as long as you’ve been abstinent for a year. Fast-forward to 2020, the height of the COVID pandemic, when we saw a lot of shortages, they then amended it to say, “As long as you’ve been abstinent within three months, you can donate blood.”

Now, a lot of groups — the American Medical Association, the Red Cross — in fact, 500 doctors and health care professionals — wrote an open letter back in 2020 saying, “Look, these policies are based on stigma, not science.” The ability to test for HIV has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and so now we can actually find out if someone’s infected within seven to 10 days of active infection. We also know that other countries have changed their policies either eliminating these bans completely or using more of a questionnaire-based screening. And the issue really comes down to the fact that a lot of these groups are saying this should be a targeted screening approach based on your individual risk, whether you are high-risk and how you have sex — what are your sexual practices — not based on how you identify and who you have sex with. So, for example, there are a lot of men who have sex with men who are low-risk. They use prep — they’re in monogamous relationships — and they’re not allowed to donate blood compared to men or women who have sex with the opposite gender unprotected, multiple partners. They are allowed to donate blood. So there’s a lot of issues here and a lot of groups saying this needs to change.

KAITLAN COLLINS: So what are these changes from the update? What could they look like?

Dr. NARULA: Right, and so the FDA has not really given us a timeline when they are going to announce this, but they are planning to release some new guidelines hopefully in the next couple of months. And they’re basically basing this on a study that was commissioned based on community health centers using this questionnaire-based screening and to see: Can that work better than these time-interval approaches? And also they’re looking internationally at what other countries are doing, so, as I said, there are a lot of other countries that have changed how they’re handling this. So, hopefully, we’ll be seeing some of these updates soon.

HARLOW: Science over stigma —

Dr. NARULA: Correct.

HARLOW: – is the direction finally.

Dr. NARULA: Finally.

DON LEMON: Thank you, Doctor.

COLLINA: Thanks, Doctor.

LEMON: I appreciate it so much.

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