by Elyse Dupre | Fri., Apr. 24, 2020 5:17 AM
Andy Cohen is calling for change.
The Bravo star spoke out on Thursday's episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen after being told he's "ineligible" to donate plasma to help those infected by the coronavirus.
After recovering from COVID-19, Cohen decided to look for ways to help other people battling the coronavirus.
"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," the late-night host said during the show. "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. 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 then noted how the coronavirus is "ravaging our planet" and how the FDA is saying "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," he continued. "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. My blood could save a life but instead it's over here boiling."
He also spoke about how people have adapted in many ways since the pandemic began—such as by social distancing and wearing masks—and questioned why the FDA couldn't adapt, as well.
"It is bad enough that quarantine has us wondering what day it is; I'm sitting here wondering what year it is," Cohen said. "We need to think about this and do better."
Guest Wendi Mclendon-Covey, who stars on The Goldbergs, called the rule "f--king ridiculous," and Leah McSweeney, who is a cast member on The Real Housewives of New York City, said it was "insane." GLAAD also thanked Cohen "for speaking out against the ban that prevents gay and bi men and others in the LGBTQ community from donating blood and plasma" and shared a link to a petition.
Watch the video to see him speak out.
(E! and Bravo are both part of NBCUniversal).