Andy Cohen Says He Couldn't Donate Plasma Due To FDA's 'Discriminatory' Rules
Andy Cohen says his plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that could be beneficial for current patients
Andy Cohen is calling for a change to FDA guidelines when it comes to gay men and blood and plasma donation. He spoke out during last night’s episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen after he was told he’s “ineligible” to donate his plasma to help those infected with COVID-19.
Cohen, who has recently recovered from the coronavirus, wanted to help people who are currently battling the disease by donating his plasma — which is full of antibodies that could be beneficial to those who have tested positive. The father of one-year-old Benjamin said, “My blood could save a life, instead it’s over here boiling.”
He explained he signed up for a program specifically designed for COVID-19 survivors to donate their blood and plasma.
“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,” he said during the show. “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.”
He said even with the new “relaxed” rules, he’s still not eligible to donate: “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.”
Many people offered their support for Cohen’s desire for change.
Other waves of support came from organizations including GLAAD, who thanked him for “speaking out against the ban that prevents gay and bi men and others in the LGBTQ community from donating blood and plasma.”
GLAAD linked to an existing online petition to lift the ban on gay, bisexual, and MSM (men who have sex with men) from donating blood and plasma. In recent weeks, the “deferral period” for abstinence was reduced from 12 months to three months, but GLAAD is pushing for the ban to be lifted entirely.
“This antiquated ban is not only discriminatory, but has been debunked by leading medical organizations for years. The American Public Health Association has argued that the current ban ‘is not based in science but appears to be modeled after other countries’ choices and fears,'” GLAAD states. “The American Red Cross has also spoken out against the ban, noting that “blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation.”
This article was originally published on