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FDA relaxes blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men

May 12, 2023 – The FDA has modified its blood donation screening rules to permit more gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

All applicants are asked the identical questions on their sexual history, no matter gender or sexual orientation. Applicants who say they've had a brand new sexual partner or multiple sexual partner previously three months are asked in the event that they have had anal sex during that point. If they answer yes, they'll still be rejected.

People who take drugs to stop HIV infection may even be excluded from the approval. The FDA said that while these drugs are effective, they'll delay HIV detection in blood tests and sometimes result in false negative results.

The latest policy is predicated on the newest scientific evidence and is analogous to the rules within the UK and Canada, the FDA said. It is meant to expand the circle of people that can donate blood while ensuring the security of blood supplies, the FDA said in a press release.

The FDA's previous guidelines for blood donations were issued within the Nineteen Eighties throughout the AIDS pandemic and were long considered discriminatory. The FDA proposed the policy change last January.

The American Red Cross praised the choice in a press release, but stressed that “more needs to be done to make blood donation even more inclusive.”

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD called the FDA's decision “an important step in the right direction.” But the group said banning blood donations from people taking PrEP, an FDA-approved drug for HIV prevention, “leads to unnecessary stigma” and will potentially cost lives.