Andy Cohen expressed his anger and questioned the Food and Drug Association (FDA) about why gay survivors of COVID-19 are banned from donating the much-needed plasma that could help others who are battling the disease.
The talk show host called the attention of the FDA for members of his community while donating blood during the "Moment of Mazel" segment of his show "Watch What Happens Live." He acknowledged that there is an urgent need for plasma which is rich in antibodies from COVID-19 survivors. Thus, he questioned why he cannot donate when his plasma could also save lives.
Cohen revealed that he signed up with a group of COVID-19 survivors who want to donate their plasma. To his dismay, he was told that as a precaution to prevent the spread of HIV, he is "ineligible to donate blood" because he is a gay man. He then pointed out that "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."
Cohen explained that "all donated blood is screened for HIV and a rapid HIV test can be done in 20 minutes or less." Thus, he questioned the purpose of the three-month rule and why gay men are "being excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying."
"Maybe because we're valuing stigma over science, I don't know," the 51-year old fumed as he added, "My blood could save a life, but instead it's over here boiling."
Cohen said that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to adapt in many ways. They follow social distancing, wear masks, and are staying in quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease. He then urged for a change in the FDA's rules amid the pandemic. Cohen pointed out that "it is bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is" and yet he is at home "wondering what year it is" because of the "antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA."