Andy Cohen has experienced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s “antiquated and discriminatory” blood donation guidelines firsthand.
In a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live!, the talk-show host’s “Moment of Mazel” got serious when he revealed he’d been turned away for plasma donations because of his sexual orientation. As NewNowNext previously reported, Cohen tested positive for COVID-19 back in March. He’s since made a full recovery and has resumed hosting his Bravo chatfest from the comfort of his New York City apartment.
However, upon trying to donate plasma for use in an experimental treatment trial as a coronavirus survivor, Cohen said he was denied because he’s a gay man.
— Gibson Johns (@gibsonoma) April 24, 2020
“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,” Cohen explained, referencing guidances from the FDA for men who have sex with other men (MSM) that were updated in early April as the coronavirus crisis worsened.
“My blood could save a life,” he added, “but instead, it’s over here boiling.”
Prior to this month, MSM had to abstain from sex for a full 12 months before becoming eligible blood or plasma donors. The talk-show host used his platform to urge the FDA to reconsider its outdated rules. He’s not alone, either: Advocates from groups like GLAAD and HRC have called out the agency for policies that favor stigma over science.
A recent segment on Good Morning America also highlighted another man who claimed he was turned away from a blood donation center for being gay.
“It’s bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is; I’m sitting here wondering what year it is,” Cohen said. “We need to think about this and do better.”
Watch his full WWHL spiel below.