Saturday, December 24, 2011
UK lifts gay male blood donation ban; US keeps ban despite rapidly rising need for blood, especially for bone marrow transplants, as medical technology advances quickly
Recent media stories about donated blood shortages, particularly related to increased needs because of increase ability of medicine to perform bone marrow transplants (as reported by the NBC Today show regarding NIH), have renewed interest in looking at the FDA ban on accepting blood donations from MSM (effectively, “gay men”) since 1983.
The ban would apply even to those negative for HIV antibodies and antigens.
The government says that HIV is still about sixty times as prevalent among gay men as the general population.
It’s not clear this is reliable, but the success of many medications (such as protease inhibitors, especially newer ones) is making the problem less visible to the public.
The FDA bans donations for only a year after heterosexual contact with someone with HIV.
The Red Cross urges a policy of a one-year wait after an MSM event.
The December 5, 2011 USA Today story is here.
Britain lifted the automatic ban on gay male donors in September 2011, story .