What the heck happened?
The FDA has a longstanding restriction that prevents men from donating blood if they've ever had sex with other men. The rule dates back to 1983, when AIDS was still new and scary and called "a gay plague." But we're much more educated on AIDS and same-gender sex these days, so the FDA finally loosened its restrictions ... in 2015. All men can now donate blood! Uh, as long as they haven't slept with another man in the last 12 months. Sorry, guy in intensive care with a severe gunshot wound, but if you think about it, a year can really fly by, right?
Given that blood shortages are a continual pressing concern, discriminating against a good chunk of the population seems counterproductive. The FDA's stance is that it's all about safety, that 12 months ensures that if someone were unknowingly HIV positive, it would still show up in screenings. Makes sense, right? But straight people who have slept around all year are still welcome to donate, while gay men in healthy monogamous relationships are turned away. Meanwhile, Italy has performed individual risk assessments on donors instead of relying on blanket bans since 2001, and they haven't seen any increase in HIV infections. So maybe we shouldn't be making non-straight men choose between doing a good deed and enjoying sex this year, especially since we all know what we'd choose.