Andy Cohen just wants to do his part. The host slammed the FDA guidelines that prevent him from donating blood to help people with coronavirus.
“I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I am a gay man,” the 51-year-old Bravo producer said on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen on Thursday, April 23. “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, who tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 last month, emphasized that all donated blood is tested for HIV.
“This virus is ravaging our planet. The FDA says there is an urgent need for plasma from survivors,” he said. “All donated blood is screened for HIV. And a rapid HIV test can be done in 20 minutes or less. So why the three-month rule? Why are members of my community being excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying?”
He went on to urge the FDA to “think about this and do better” on Thursday night.
“My blood could save a life, but instead it’s over here boiling,” he explained. “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? It’s bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is, I’m sitting here wondering what year it is.”
The FDA announced earlier this month that it relaxed the restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood amid the coronavirus pandemic. As Cohen explained, a gay man now needs to wait three months after sex to donate blood instead of one year. Men in the LGBTQ community were first banned from donating blood at all in the ‘80s amid the AIDs epidemic. The FDA first relaxed the rules in 2015.
Cohen, for his part, announced on March 20 that he tested positive for coronavirus. After weeks of self-isolation, he was able to reunite with his son Ben, 14 months, on March 31 and return to hosting WWHL from home.