Andy Cohen: I can’t donate my plasma to help fight coronavirus because I’m gay
Andy Cohen is used to drama from “Housewives” — not the FDA.
On Thursday night’s episode of “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” the host said he was unable to donate his plasma to help fight against COVID-19 due to his sexual orientation.
“After recovering from coronavirus I wanted to see if there was something that I could do to help people who were infected,” he began. “I signed up for a program for COVID-19 survivors where you could donate plasma, which is rich in antibodies, to those still battling the virus. I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I’m a gay man.”
Cohen, 51, tested positive for the virus in late March.
His guests, Leah McSweeney and Wendi McLendon-Covey, were visibly shocked.
“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,” he continued.
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “This virus is ravaging our planet. 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 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,” Cohen continued. “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? It is bad enough the 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. Thanks.”
“That’s f—ng ridiculous,” McLendon-Covey immediately chimed in. “Everything you just said — I’m boiling over here.”
“I am too,” Cohen reassured her. “I am too. It’s crazy. They said, ‘No. You can’t. You’re ineligible.’”
McSweeney commented, “That’s insane! That is insane!”
This isn’t the first time Cohen’s talked about politics on his late-night show. Last summer, he took on New York’s ban on surrogacy contracts. He accompanied Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Albany to fight the mandate after welcoming his son, Ben.
He then thanked the governor earlier this month after a law reversing the ban was put into action.
“THANK YOU GOVERNOR CUOMO!” Cohen wrote on Instagram. “Not only has he brilliantly led NY through this pandemic, because of him tonight the ban on surrogacy in New York will be REVERSED! The passage of the Child-Parent Security Act means thousands of New Yorkers who struggle with infertility, cancer survivors, and LGBTQ will have a chance of a family. It was an honor working on this initiative with the Governor, and thrilling to have some good news in the midst of so much sadness. Thanks to @familyequality for helping me lend my voice to this campaign. I ♥️NY.”
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