June 22, 2024

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FDA’s Revised Blood Donation Policy for Gay and Bisexual Men Takes Effect

FDA’s Revised Blood Donation Policy for Gay and Bisexual Men Takes Effect



 

FDA’s Revised Blood Donation Policy for Gay and Bisexual Men Takes Effect.

In a groundbreaking policy shift, the American Red Cross has implemented the recent milestone change by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing a vast number of gay and bisexual men across the United States to become blood donors as of August 7th.

 

The FDA unveiled this policy in May, permitting men who are in long-term monogamous relationships with other men, as well as those who haven’t engaged in risky sexual behaviors recently, to donate blood.

 

FDA's Revised Blood Donation Policy for Gay and Bisexual Men Takes Effect

 

LGBTQ activists and medical groups have long fought for the revision of this policy, especially in the face of blood supply shortages. They argue that the previously more restrictive policies, while aimed at safeguarding the blood supply from HIV infection, have become discriminatory rather than rooted in reliable science due to advancements in testing technologies.

 

David Stacy, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the U.S., hailed this new policy as a “long-awaited step forward” that “marks the end of decades of discriminatory and prejudiced bans.”

 

In 1985, four years after the AIDS crisis emerged, the FDA imposed a lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men, prohibiting men who had engaged in sexual activities with other men since 1977 from donating blood.

In 2015, the agency adjusted this policy, restricting eligibility for blood donation by gay men to 12 months after their last sexual contact with another man. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, this deferral period was reduced to 3 months.

 

The FDA had previously maintained that these policies were necessary to safeguard the blood supply. While all blood donors undergo screening for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, blood testing results could yield false negatives.

The previous screening protocols had evidently been successful, as reported by the FDA, stating that over the past 30 years, no transfusion under their authorization had led to the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in May that 70% of new HIV transmissions occur among gay men.

Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiology professor at Emory University, has also roughly estimated that gay men are 400 times more likely to contract HIV compared to heterosexual men.

 

 

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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