Andy Cohen is calling out the FDA for limiting him as he attempts to help patients battling the coronavirus. The 51-year-old Bravo host is a survivor of COVID-19 and on Thursday night’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, he opened up about how his efforts to help others suffering have been stifled.
“After recovering from coronavirus, I wanted to see if there was something I could do to help people who were infected,” Cohen during a taping of WWHL from his home.
Noting that he signed up to donate plasma so that his antibodies could help those fighting for their lives, he learned that he was ineligible due to his sexual orientation.
“I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I am a gay man,” he explained. “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 also noted that those concerned that HIV could be transmitted could easily check to see if the donated blood was infected with HIV.
“All donated blood is screened for HIV and a rapid HIV test can be done in 20 minutes or less, so why the three-month rule?” Cohen asked. “Why are members from my community 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.” “My blood could save a life, but instead it’s over here boiling,” he continued. “This pandemic has forced us to adapt in many ways — we’re quarantining, we’re social distancing, we’re wearing masks. Why can’t we adapt when it comes to this rule? It’s bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is, I’m sitting here wondering what year it is. We need to think about this and do better.”