Andy Cohen is calling out the FDA for its “antiquated” and “discriminatory” guidelines that prevent gay and bisexual men and other members of the LGBTQ community from donating plasma to help those suffering from the coronavirus.
“Tonight I’ve got a bit of a rant, so please indulge me,” Cohen said Thursday on “Watch What Happens Live.”
“After recovering from the coronavirus, I wanted to see if there was something I could do to help people who were infected. 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.
“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 man.”
The host went on to explain that the FDA’s rules, which require gay men to abstain from sex for three months before giving blood or plasma, were put in place to prevent the spread of HIV. But Cohen pointed out that all blood is screened for HIV before being used, and that in light of what the FDA itself has called an “urgent” need for plasma to help coronavirus victims, a rapid HIV test could be done as little as 20 minutes.
“So why the three-month rule? Why are members from my community being excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying?” Cohen asked. “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.”
The host went on to calmly suggest that the powers-that-be get with the times.
“This pandemic has forced us to adapt in many ways. We’re quarantining, we’re social distancing, we’re wearing masks. Why can’t we adapt when it comes to this rule?” he asked. “It is bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is — I’m sitting here wondering what year it is. We need to think about this and do better.”
Watch the video above.