The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday eased restrictions on blood donations by men who have sex with men, which could allow more people to donate and ease blood shortages.
The agency said it would recommend a similar set of “personal risk-based questions” for all donors, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Homosexual and bisexual men in monogamous relationships are allowed to donate blood.
“The implementation of these recommendations will be an important milestone for FDA and the LGBTQI+ community,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Current FDA blood donation guidelines allow men who have sex with men to donate blood after a three-month deferral period during which they abstain from having sex with men. The change came in 2020 after previous guidance mandated him a 12-month deferment period.
The new policy will abolish current time-based restrictions in favor of a more comprehensive policy, based on the best scientific evidence, while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.
“The FDA has evaluated our policy and is diligent to ensure that scientific evidence supports individual risk assessments of donor eligibility while maintaining appropriate safeguards to protect blood product recipients. I’ve been working on it,” Marks said.
Under the final guidance issued Thursday, all prospective blood donors will be asked a series of individual risk-based questions to determine their eligibility.
All potential blood donors who reported having a new sexual partner, multiple sexual partners within the past 3 months, or had anal sex within the past 3 months were considered potential donors by newly or recently HIV-infected individuals. will be postponed for 3 months to reduce The FDA said it was an infectious disease.
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