FDA proposal would enable homosexual males in monogamous relationships to donate blood

A nurse fills test tubes with blood to be tested during an American Red Cross blood mobile in Fullerton, CA on Thursday January 20, 2022.

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The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed new guidelines that would no longer require gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships to abstain from sex before donating blood.

The FDA banned men who have sex with men from donating blood for life during the 1980s AIDS crisis. The agency eased the ban in 2015, allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they hadn’t had sex in the previous year.

In response to a shortage of blood donors during the Covid pandemic, the FDA further eased restrictions in April 2020 to allow gay and bisexual men who have not had sex in the past three months to donate.

Under guidelines proposed Friday, gay and bisexual men who are in monogamous relationships should be allowed to donate blood. But people who have recently had anal sex with a new partner or partners, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, must wait three months before they can donate.

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“Maintaining a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products in the United States is of the utmost importance to the FDA, and this proposal for an individual risk assessment, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, will allow us to continue using the best science to do so.” ,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf on Friday. The Washington Post previously reported on it.

The American Medical Association has criticized the FDA’s restrictions on donations from gay men as discriminatory.

“Controversial is the need to equally assess all potential blood donors based on their individual risk factors and without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon of the AMA in January 2022.

The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest organization advocating for LGBTQ rights, said the FDA proposal was a step in the right direction but more needed to be done to lift restrictions.

“We urge the Biden administration to prioritize removing remaining barriers and ask the FDA to act expeditiously while maintaining the safety of the blood supply and a blood donation policy consistent with science,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a Explanation.

People taking oral medications to prevent HIV infection should not donate blood for three months after their last dose. People taking HIV-preventive injections are not allowed to donate blood for two years after their last injection.

These drugs, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, can cause false negative results on HIV tests, according to the FDA.

Under the proposed FDA guideline, anyone who has tested positive for HIV or is taking medication to treat HIV infection would be barred from donating blood. People who have recently engaged in sex work or used illegal intravenous drugs would have to wait three months to donate.

According to the FDA, blood banks must continue to test all donations for HIV and hepatitis C and B.

dr Peter Marks, a senior FDA official, said the agency is evaluating the science to increase the number of people who are eligible to donate blood while maintaining safeguards to ensure the delivery is safe for recipients is.

“We will continue to follow the best available science to maintain an adequate blood supply and minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission, and are committed to finalizing this draft policy as soon as possible,” Marks said Friday.

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