The FDA says screening of blood donations could soon focus on the person’s HIV risk rather than sexual orientation

The FDA plans to transition to a screening system that focuses on each person’s HIV risk, rather than a blanket sexual orientation.

The agency’s current blood donation policy places restrictions on blood donations from sexually active gay and bisexual men. They must wait three months after their last sexual contact before they are considered eligible to donate blood.

Current policy dates back to the HIV and AIDS crisis, which initially primarily affected gay and bisexual men. In the early days of the epidemic, the FDA issued a lifetime ban on donating blood.

In a statement to ABC News, the FDA says the evidence analyzed from multiple sources “is likely to support a policy change,” though there’s no specific timeline for the proposed changes.

Critics of the current blood donation policy say it is outdated and unjustly marginalizes a group of people. Officials say straight people make up about a fifth of new HIV diagnoses.

Blood banks now test all blood samples for infectious diseases before entering the samples into the donation system.

It’s not clear whether the FDA’s ultimate goal is to relax the rules specifically for gay and bisexual men, or to lift the rules entirely, but it would be a big change either way.

Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures.

https://abc7.com/fda-blood-donation-hiv-risk-gay-and-bisexual-men/12514639/ The FDA says screening of blood donations could soon focus on the person’s HIV risk rather than sexual orientation

Laura Coffey

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