It turns out there's a cure for human bias, desperation.

Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced it was significantly altering longtime restrictions on blood donations by gay and bisexual men. 

The FDA decided to significantly reduce the wait time that men who have sex with men must wait before they can donate blood from twelve months down to three.

The latest change is in response to a major drop in the blood supply during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some LGBT critics have noted the irony that it took one pandemic to overturn the discriminatory legacy of another. 

In 2015, when the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood was reduced from a lifetime to twelve months it was already being widely condemned as an outmoded and discriminatory throwback to the 1980s hysteria.  

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The original total ban was introduced in 1983 and the agency has claimed over the decades since then that it was necessary to prolong to ensure the safety of the blood supply.

But the diagnostic technology to detect HIV and ensure the safety of the blood supply has existed for many years, leading many gay rights advocates to say any wait time is unnecessary, however, the ban remained stubbornly in place. 

It turns out there's nothing like a global pandemic to cause a great leap forward in public thinking. 

“The FDA’s decision to lower the deferral period on men who have sex with men from 12 months to 3 months is a step towards being more in line with science, but remains imperfect," Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. 

"We will keep fighting until the deferral period is lifted and gay and bi men, and all LGBTQ people, are treated equal to others.”

Before someone donates blood, they are screened for a host of infectious diseases, including HIV. The current crisis has clearly concentrated the minds of those who had until now stood in opposition to progress, as a longstanding and outdated bias is getting closer to its end.

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