The F.D.A is considering replacing its current prohibition of blood donations by men who have had sex with men in the last three months by implementing a new system that would utilize a personalized risk assessment to determine a person’s eligibility to donate blood. Agency officials have revealed that the potential shift comes as the U.S. is suffering through a blood shortage. In a statement made on Wednesday, the F.D.A announced that new data from recent studies would support this transition.
The Food and Drug Administration began its prohibition of gay & bisexual men donating blood in the 80’s due to fear of HIV transmission. Gay & bisexual men have been able to donate blood since 2015 as long as they haven’t had sexual contact with other men in the previous year. The period was reduced from one year to three months during the Covid-19 pandemic due to severe blood shortages.
If approved, the new method would give male gay & bisexual donors a questionnaire about recent sexual activity and allow those with no new sexual partners within the last three months to donate. According to reports, some LGBTQ+ advocates are unsatisfied with the policy update as it still treats gay & bisexual male donors differently from other donors.