FDA to lift more restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to lift more restrictions on blood donation for gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships, even if they haven’t abstained from sex for 90 days.

The new rules are expected to be implemented in the coming months, FDA sources familiar with the plans said. the wall street journal.

Potential gay and bisexual male donors should always complete a risk assessment questionnaire before being allowed to donate blood. The FDA is still drafting the new questionnaire and guidelines.

Potential donors will likely be asked if they have been sexually active in the past 90 days. They will probably be able to donate if they haven’t had new sexual partners in those three months.

However, if a potential donor has had anal sex with a new partner in the past 90 days, they will likely be prohibited from donating until they have abstained for three months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks anal sex as the most risky type of sex for contracting or transmitting HIV.

The FDA has slowly lifted restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood over the past seven years.

In 2015, the agency lifted a blanket ban on gay men donating blood – put in place in the 19980s at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic – but still required them to wait a year if they were sexually active. During the coronavirus pandemic in 2019, the FDA reduced the wait from 12 months to three months due to the country’s low supply of blood donors.

The potential new rules follow a study of around 1,600 gay and bisexual men who investigated whether a risk assessment questionnaire was more effective than a set waiting period in keeping the blood supply uncontaminated . The study was conducted by three of the largest nonprofit blood centers in the United States: Vitalant, OneBlood and the American Red Cross.

An FDA official told the Log that 90 days would be enough to know whether a person has been infected with HIV or not.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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