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Senators urge overhaul of gay donor restrictions amid blood shortage

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NBC News / Karen Ducey / Getty Images

A group of senators are calling on the federal government to lift policies restricting gay and bisexual men from giving blood amid a nationwide donation shortage. Currently, men who have sex with men must remain celibate for a year before they are permitted to donate.

The 15 senators sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday urging authorities to “shift away from antiquated and stigmatizing donation policies” to address a need for blood donations during the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“We must take every possible step to secure our nation’s blood supply in this critical time,” the senators wrote, advocating for donation policies that are “scientifically sound, based on individual risk, and inclusive of all potential healthy blood donors.”