ADVOCATE.COM – No matter their gender or sexual orientation, all potential donors will be asked the same questions in a move that ends the previous screening based on sexual orientation, which many considered discriminatory.
Men in monogamous relationships are no longer required to abstain from sex to donate.
Several years ago, an FDA reexamination led to the lifting of a lifetime ban on blood donations for gay and bisexual men. A more recent policy recommended a three-month wait for sexual activity before blood donation for men who have sex with men.
There will no longer be gender-specific deferrals or screening questions related to sex with men or sex with women. This means the United States joins the United Kingdom and Canada in implementing risk-based regulations.
A donor who reports having had anal sex with a new partner or reports having more than one sexual partner in the past three months and has had anal sex in the past three months will be deferred.
Additionally, under this final recommendation, those taking medications to prevent or treat HIV infection will be deferred — including antiretroviral therapy (ART), pree-xposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, tells The Advocate:
“We’ve had a progression over the past seven, eight years going from what was an indefinite deferral of men who had sex [with] men from donating blood to a 12-month deferral, which started in 2015, to a three-month deferral which took effect in 2020,”
“Each of those steps was based on the science that we had available, the introduction of highly sensitive tests, as well as the use of donor screening questionnaires … “
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