Blood donor at donation with bouncy ball holding in hand.

Lift the Blood Ban, But Don’t Penalize PrEP Users 

By Doron Dorfman

On May 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is lifting its highly contested blood deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM, i.e., gay and bisexual men), colloquially known as the blood ban.

While this decision should be applauded as a step toward equality, the policy remains flawed and needlessly stigmatizing, as it excludes potential donors who use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an antiviral regimen that prevents HIV infection from sex.

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Photo of doctor's exam room.

Three Reactions to Braidwood v. Becerra

Last week, a federal judge in Texas dealt a blow to the Affordable Care Act’s preventative care requirements that private insurers cover services such as behavioral counseling, HPV vaccination, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV/AIDS (PrEP). In Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra, Judge Reed O’Connor enjoined the enforcement of the preventative care coverage mandate.

Led by Braidwood Management Inc., the plaintiffs claimed that the preventive services requirements were unconstitutional, violating the Appointments Clause and the Nondelegation Doctrine. Further, they argued that requiring coverage of PrEP violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In siding with the plaintiffs, Judge O’Connor has jeopardized access to critical health care services, potentially affecting over 150 million insured Americans. The Biden administration was quick to challenge the ruling; on Friday, attorneys for the Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice of appeal.

To make sense of these developments, leading experts in health law policy analyze Judge O’Connor’s ruling below.
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