FDA finally plans to lift lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men in the US
The Food and Drug Administration announced recently that it will adjust its policy for gay and bisexual male blood donors. Japan, Australia, and the UK have already established a one year deferral policy for blood transfusions.
Previously, questionnaires asked donors to indicate if they had slept with a man since 1977, when the HIV epidemic began. Now, this question has been adjusted to ask if their last encounter has been within 12 months. This one-year window will not affect the safety of donations, as advancements in HIV testing have increased the rate of early detection.
Although medical experts and gay rights advocates question how much more ethical this adjustment is, it is a step forward from the previous lifetime ban for gay and bisexual blood donors, which has been deemed unjustifiable and exclusionary.
The chances of contracting an HIV positive blood transfusion are 1 in 1.5 million, according to the American Red Cross, and every year there are around 16 million donations collected in the United States.