Red Cross Lifts Blood-Donation Restriction for Gay and Bisexual Men

Red Cross Lifts Blood-Donation Restriction for Gay and Bisexual Men

Under a new, inclusive, screening process announced August 7, Red Cross has lifted its blood-donation restriction for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration implemented changes for assessing blood donor eligibility, allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood since the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This shift asserted that a donor’s sexual orientation does not pose a threat to the nation’s blood supply, and instead, employed a series of risk-based questions, with the aim of lowering the risk of HIV infections from blood transfusions for all donors.

In the new screening process, donors will provide comprehensive information about new sexual partners, the number of sexual partners they’ve had, and if they have had anal sex in the past three months — if they have, the donation by the individual would likely be deferred to reduce the possibility of HIV infection, according to Red Cross. The three-month rule will be applied to all donors, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

“The FDA has worked diligently to evaluate our policies and ensure we had the scientific evidence to support individual risk assessment for donor eligibility while maintaining appropriate safeguards to protect recipients of blood products. The implementation of these recommendations will represent a significant milestone for the agency and the LGBTQI+ community,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in a statement earlier this year. “The FDA is committed to working closely with the blood collection industry to help ensure timely implementation of the new recommendations and we will continue to monitor the safety of the blood supply once this individual risk-based approach is in place.”

The Red Cross said in a statement that the changes made are significant progress to an inclusive blood donation process for everyone, understanding that the restriction disproportionately targeted gay and bisexual men, and it remains committed to working to provide data to the FDA to make blood donation guidelines more inclusive.

“Years of data have demonstrated that this new eligibility screening process ensures a safe blood supply patients can feel confident in. For years, the Red Cross has worked to change the deferral policy concerning men who have sex with men – this work included decades of data collection and assessment to improve transfusion safety, ongoing advocacy to eliminate donor questions based on sexual orientation, and our recent role as a leading contributor in the FDA-funded ADVANCE Study,” Red Cross wrote on their website.

Featured Image: coldsnowstorm via StockPhotos

Post a Comment