FDA loosens restrictions on blood donations by men who have sex with men

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 11:44am
Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 12:00pm
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The FDA has lowered blood-donation hurdles for men who have sex with men.

The new screening focuses less on waiting periods and more on responses to individual, risk-based questions that are asked of every donor, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender.

Previous guidelines required men to abstain from sex with other men for three months before donating.

Under the new policy, men who’ve had anal sex with a new partner in the last three months must still wait three months to reduce risk of new HIV infection, but those without new partners may still donate if other criteria are met.

The FDA says the new guidelines are more inclusive and based on the best scientific evidence.

Blood services provider Vitalant declared a blood emergency in January for 900 hospitals.

In a statement, the nonprofit praised the move, calling it a step toward inclusivity that maintains the safety of the blood supply.

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