FDA moves to ease blood donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is changing its policy to address future blood shortages and remove the stigma around gay and bisexual men.
The change has been decades in the making. Not only to increase the blood supply but also to be more inclusive with a risk-based approach to donor eligibility. The American Red Cross, The American Medical Association, and Vitalant Blood Donation all support the change and welcome more people to safely donate blood.
Rather than a blanket ban due to sexual orientation, the relaxation of the rule would screen potential donors on their risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. The FDA says questionnaires will ask all donors about new or multiple sexual partners in the past three months.
Vitalant leaders saying in part:
"We believe that donor eligibility criteria should be based on the latest available scientific data, not sexual orientation, and support the FDA’s proposed guidance for an individual risk assessment for reducing the risk of HIV in the blood supply.
Vitalant served as the primary investigator and coordinator for the FDA-funded study called ADVANCE. During the study, Vitalant, OneBlood, the American Red Cross and partnering LGBTQ+ organizations enrolled participants and collected data to assist the FDA in evaluating alternatives to the current men who have sex with men (MSM) policy for gay and bisexual men."Vitalant
Vitalant officials also said they are pleased with the data collected thus far. They'll continue to work with the FDA and industry partners as the guidance progresses.
They say it's not going to be a fast change. It will take some time to update donor history information, computer systems, and train staff.