Americans tend to support relaxing rules on who can donate blood, though Republicans are an exception
Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is considering an end to a ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men. Currently any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is prohibited from donating blood. An FDA committee has recomended that this ban be relaxed, so that men who have not had sex with men within the past year are allowed to donate, similar to rules in other countries such as the UK and Canada. The move comes as the Red Cross says that the national blood supply is lower than expected, and allowing men who have had sex with other men to donate would increase the national blood supply by between 2% and 4%.
YouGov's latest research shows that only 6% of Americans support the FDA's compromise plan which allows men to donate blood, so long as they have not had sex with another man for a year. 39% think that even sexually active gay men should be allowed to donate blood while 30% say that any man who has ever had sex with another man should be banned from donating blood. 26% aren't sure either way.
Democrats (47%) and independents (42%) are largely on the same page on this issue, with both tending to think that sexually active gay men should be allowed to donate blood, and only 23% and 27% of each group, respectively, support an outright ban on blood donation. Among Republicans, however, 45% support a ban on blood donation by any man who has had sex with another man. Only 23% support allowing blood donation by at least some men who have had sex with other men.
Many Americans are unclear of what rules currently govern blood donations. Only 21% of Americans are aware that men who have ever had sex with another man are banned from donating blood, while 29% actually think that they can currently give blood. Just under half of the public are aware that all donated blood is tested for HIV and other diseases, but 42% aren't sure if these tests are standard, and 8% believe they are not.
Just over half (52%) of Americans say that they have donated blood. Republicans (63%) are the most likely to say they have donated blood and black Americans (35%) and women (43%) are the least likely.
Full poll results can be found here.