10:30pm PT by Lexy Perez
Andy Cohen Says He's Unable to Donate Plasma to Those Battling Virus Due to FDA Guidelines
Andy Cohen is speaking out after learning that he is unable to donate plasma to help those infected by COVID-19.
In the closing moments of his Bravo show Watch What Happens Live! With Andy Cohen, Cohen took a moment to explain how he signed up for a program that helps COVID-19 survivors donate their plasma, which is rich in antibodies, to those battling the virus. Cohen has since recovered from COVID-19, after announcing his diagnosis last month.
However, due to "antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV," Cohen said he's "ineligible to donate blood because I'm a gay man."
He explained that 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." He emphasized that he finds it hypocritical given there are "no such blanket restrictions" required for heterosexual donors.
"This virus is ravaging our planet,” Cohen pleaded. “The FDA says there is an urgent need for plasma from survivors. 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? Why are members of my community being excluded from helping out when so many people are sick and dying?"
Cohen argued that stigma is being valued over science. "My blood could save a life, but instead it’s over here boiling. 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?”
Adding that remaining quarantined has everyone "wondering what day it is" or "what year it is," Cohen expressed his disappointment in being unable to help.
"We need to think about this and do better," he urged, saying "it's crazy" that he is considered an ineligible donor.
Watch Cohen's monologue below.