FDA to allow gay and bisexual men in relationships to donate blood

From WWW.DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

Gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships will be able to donate blood without abstaining from sex, under a rule change being drawn up by health officials.

Sources say the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently bars men who have sex with men from having intercourse for at least three months before donating.

The policy originated in the 1980s during the AIDs epidemic when tests for HIV were not sensitive enough to ensure blood was not contaminated.

The ban was lifted in 2015, but men who have sex with men were required to abstain from sex for a year before donating. This was dropped to three months in 2020.

But the agency is now planning to fully reverse the rule, according to the Wall Street Journal. It comes amid reports that STI rates are soaring nationwide as Americans ditch condoms.

It will bring the US more in line with other countries like the UK, Spain and Mexico — which have also lifted restrictions on gay or bisexual men donating blood.

Blood tests for HIV are now more than 99 per cent accurate. The FDA's move is based on a study involving 1,600 gay and bisexual men backed by three nonprofits.

Politicians and campaigners welcomed the end of the 'discriminatory' and 'outdated' policy today.

According to plans being drawn up by the FDA, seen by the WSJ, men and women donating blood will now have to fill out a questionnaire that asks them about their recent sexual activity.

Sources said they would be asked if they had any new sexual partners in the past three months.

People who say they have not would be free to donate.

But those who say they have would be asked if they had anal intercourse over the past three months.

People who say they have not would also be allowed to donate.

But those who say they have will likely be asked to wait three months before donating blood.

The FDA confirmed to DailyMail.com that the agency was considering easing restrictions on gay or bisexual men donating blood.

A spokeswoman said: 'Although we do not have a specific timeline for when our analysis will be complete... [it] will likely support a policy transition to individual risk-based donor screening questions for reducing the risk of HIV transmission.'

Unprotected anal sex poses a higher risk of transmitting HIV than other forms of sexual activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

But three months is considered an adequate wait time because it gives enough time for symptoms to appear, the FDA says.

All donated blood is screened for diseases including HIV, syphilis and hepatitis among others. This has been in place since 1985.... (Read more)

Submitted 68 days ago


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