Talk show host Andy Cohen is speaking out after being told he’s “ineligible” to donate plasma to possibly help those fighting coronavirus.
The “Watch What Happens Live” host tested positive for COVID-19 last month and said Thursday that he wanted to see if there was something he could do to help others who are infected.
Cohen said he signed up for a program for COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma as a possible treatment.
“I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA, to prevent H.I.V., I am ineligible to donate blood because I am a gay man,” Cohen explained.
The federal government recently relaxed the rules regarding blood donations by gay and bisexual men, but they’re still required to wait three months from their last sexual encounter in order to donate blood. The FDA rules until this month had required a 12-months deferral.
Cohen noted that “no such blanket restrictions exist for people of other sexual orientations” and a rapid HIV test can be completed in 20 minutes or less.
“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 or science, I don’t know, my blood could save a life, but instead it’s over here boiling,” Cohen stated.
As of Friday morning, there have been more than 869,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 50,000 deaths.