FDA moves to ease rules for blood donations from gay men
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is moving to further ease restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men and other groups that typically face higher risks of HIV.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced draft guidelines that would do away with the current three-month abstinence requirement for donations from men who have sex with men.
Instead, all potential donors would be screened with a new questionnaire that evaluates their individual risks for HIV based on sexual behaviour, recent partners and other factors.
If finalised, many gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships would be able to donate blood for the first time in decades. It's the latest move by the FDA to broaden donor eligibility, with the potential to boost donations.
“We feel confident that the safety of the blood supply will be maintained,” FDA's Dr Peter Marks told reporters.
Gay rights groups have long opposed blanket restrictions on who can give blood, saying they discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
Medical societies including the American Medical Association have also said such exclusions are unnecessary given advances in technology to test blood for infectious diseases.
“Current and former blood donation policies made unfounded assumptions about gay and bisexual men and really entangled individuals' identity with their likelihood of having HIV,” said Sarah Warbelow of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group.
Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.