Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FDA issues guidelines for lifting MSM blood donation ban; one year abstinence standard

The Food and Drug Administration has announced it will lift the absolute ban on MSM (men who have sex with men, since 1977) from blood donations.  These are non-binding recommendations and appear to apply only to blood and blood products (like stem cells for marrow transplants), not to organ donations.  The Washington Post has a Scribd PDF link here. (Note: the Embed code doesn’t work, don’t know why).

The recommendations require abstinence from anal or oral sex with other men for one year.  The recommendations are not different for monogamous, even married, male couples.  The FDA notes that married couples may be less likely to use condoms.  There is also controversy, still, over the effectiveness of condoms.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has a press release, critical of the FDA release, noting that any HIV would manifest in an antigen test within at most 60 days.  (That reminds me of the discussions of the maximum possible incubation period for Ebola last year – 21 days, or more like 42?)
I have not learned of any HIV cases among my own cohort of friends or people that I circulate with.  On a practical level, spread among “educated” gay men seems to be much less today than it was in the 1980s.  Behavior does seem to be much more cautious, among men that I talk to.  

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