HOPE Act Approves, Allows HIV-Positive Organ Donors: But Gay Community Still Can't Donate Blood

In the midst of all the bad press for the Obama administration, they've actually pulled off something great: Soon, it won’t be considered a crime for HIV-positive Americans to be organ donors. A bill to end a 25-year ban on HIV-positive individuals’ ability to donate organs, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, was given final approval by the House of Representatives Tuesday. After President Obama signs in the legislation, transplanting organs between Americans who are HIV-positive will become legal, as long as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concludes it’s safe under scientific guidelines.

More good news: this was an bipartisan effort, brought forward by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer from California and Republican Tom Coburn from Oklahoma.

“Our scientific understanding of AIDS is much better than when this research ban was established,” Coburn said. “Those infected with HIV are now living much longer and, as a consequence, are suffering more kidney and liver failures. If research shows positive results, HIV positive patients will have an increased pool of donors.”

This is a big step forward when it comes to greater acceptance of HIV-positive Americans, and will help the destigmatization of HIV and AIDS — but the United States still has a way to go when it comes to equality for donors. In August, Bustle reported on how gay people haven’t been able to legally donate blood in America since 1983:

You can sign this petition to stop the FDA from discriminating against gay men from donating blood in America here.