1. > Gay and bi­sex­ual men in monog­a­mous re­la­tion­ships would be al­lowed to do­nate blood with­out ab­stain­ing from sex un­der guide­lines be­ing drafted by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the plans said.

    > The change would be a departure from U.S. policy that for many years barred men who have sex with men from donating blood. The FDA policy originated in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic, when tests for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, weren’t considered sensitive enough to protect the blood supply.

    > The FDA lifted the ban in 2015 but said gay and bisexual men had to abstain from sex for one year before donating. During the pandemic, amid severe blood shortages, federal officials shortened the abstinence requirement to three months.

    > The FDA plans to issue the new rules in coming months, the people familiar with the plans said. All potential donors would need to complete an individualized risk assessment, the people said. Canada adopted a similar system in September. Canada’s risk assessment is a form that asks uniform questions regardless of gender or sexual orientation about a potential donor’s medical history, travel and sexual activity.

    > The FDA’s intended plans come after an agency-funded study of around 1,600 gay and bisexual men examined whether an individualized-risk assessment would be as effective as time deferrals in keeping the blood supply safe. The study, conducted by three of the largest nonprofit blood centers in the U.S.—Vitalant, OneBlood and the American Red Cross—concluded earlier this year. Participants in the study were asked whether they had more than one sex partner during specific periods, the type of sexual activity they engaged in and whether they used condoms, among other questions.

    > “We have a strong data set,” said Dr. Brian Custer, director of Vitalant Research Institute and principal investigator of the study. “We have highly relevant information to envision what an individual risk-based approach would look like.”

    > FDA officials are still drafting the new guidance and determining what the questionnaire would contain, the people said. The new risk assessment would likely ask potential donors if they have had any new sexual partners in the past three months, an FDA official said. People who say they haven’t would be free to donate blood. People who say they have had new sexual partners would be asked if they have had anal intercourse in the past three months. People who say they haven’t would be allowed to donate. People who say they have would likely be asked to wait three months before donating blood, an FDA official said.

    > Unprotected anal sex presents a higher risk of HIV transmission than other forms of sex, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. Three months is an adequate wait time, an FDA official said, because an HIV infection would be apparent within that time.

    > Blood centers such as the American Red Cross test donations for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other viruses. HIV testing over the years has improved. Some tests look for the presence of antibodies to HIV, indicating that a person was exposed to the virus. Other tests measure the amount of virus in the blood.

    > None of the tests can detect HIV immediately after infection, according to infectious-disease specialists. “With the latest HIV tests, that window is probably no greater than 10 days from the time of exposure,” said Dr. Bruce Walker, an infectious-diseases specialist and director of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. He called the risk of HIV transmission during this window “low but it is not negative.” He said he supports allowing men who have sex with men to donate blood.

    > More people donating blood regularly would alleviate seasonal shortages, said Dr. Susan Stramer, vice president of scientific affairs for the American Red Cross. She said the nonprofit didn’t have specific data about the effect of a change to the policy for gay and bisexual men.

    > LGBTQ advocacy groups such as Human Rights Campaign have for years called the U.S. blood policy discriminatory and said that men who have sex with men should be allowed to donate. The American Medical Association and the American Red Cross have also called for the policy to be changed.

    > “I’m thrilled to see this step forward,” said North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley, who led an effort with 12 other state health leaders to call for changes to the blood donation policy. “It’s long past time for us to protect the blood supply based off what people do and not who people are.”

    > Sarah Warbelow, legal director for Human Rights Campaign, encouraged the FDA to follow through in opening donation to more men who have sex with men. “Any policy that singles out gay and bisexual men perpetuates stigma while failing to further the goal of a safe blood supply,” she said.

  2. Current policy differentiates two distinct risk groups: Sexually active MSM and those who haven’t been since [HIV testing window]. There’s a body of evidence supporting the fact that the latter group is many orders of magnitude less risky than the former.

    The article claims a similar difference in monogamous MSM and promiscuous MSM.

    Yet every comment supporting a blanket ban continues to group us as a monolith, as though the risk factors are identical, with data like “1 in 2 black MSM is at risk.”

    Your numbers aren’t incorrect, they are just incomplete.

  3. So I understand the scientific and logistical reasons for such restrictions. But shouldn’t the restrictions also apply to *anyone* who has had anal sex during that time frame, regardless of gender?

  4. I’ll keep my gay blood to myself, thanks

  5. Cant wait to see all the stories about people refusing “gay blood”.

  6. I’m a big dude with an ideal
    Blood type and used to donate double (packed RBCs) every time I could in high school/early college.

    I’ve been married to another man for 5 years and wholly monogamous but have never been able to donate.

    Happy change for me!

  7. Don’t they have to test all of the blood anyway?

  8. Wait. As I a bisexual man, at some point, I wasn’t allowed to donate blood?

  9. I definitely misread this as the “FDA plans to allow more gay, bisexual men to detonate.”

  10. Funny, I just saw the thread about parents refusing vaccinated blood to save their baby’s life, soon I’ll be reading they don’t want no gay blood either smh.

  11. I didn’t know they couldn’t so I guess I learned something.

  12. AFAIK, the blood is tested for HIV and other things so it should be safe right?

  13. Overdue

  14. Gay vampires are livid

  15. Ready to donate my gay double vaxxed and boosted blood

  16. For those who can’t understand why the gay male ban was implemented, read about Ryan White from Kokomo, Indiana.

  17. this comment section


  18. I still talk about the questionnaire we used to fill out when giving blood. I’m paraphrasing but it was something like, “Have you ever even once engaged in homosexual activity?”

    We always joked that our answer would be, “No!” “Oh wait, *even once??* Ok, you got me!”

  19. For those who are healthy, be thankful you don’t need packed RBC, cryo, plasma, or platelet transfusions. There are so many problems and complications that can arise.

    Consider getting tested for blood type and consider donating. There is a big shortage of blood products right now

  20. Ah. The vampires must be getting desperate.

  21. Can’t wait to hear the Christian Right clutching its pearls. “It will make recipients gay!” Or some similar BS.

  22. About time. Donating blood is healthy for men so you can get rid of excess iron and hematocrit.

  23. Reply
    I_Like_Thanksgiving December 1, 2022 at 2:02 am

    Awesome, can’t wait to donate blood again even though I’m single! It was one of my favorite things when I lived a celibate life, and to be unable to donate blood just because I also wanted to be happy/fulfilled in other areas of my life for the first time was disappointing, even though I can understand why with the AIDS crisis and everything.

  24. I never understood the restriction. They need to test all the blood regardless, right? It’s not like, “oh, this is hetero blood? No test needed, fill me up”.

  25. If your blood is good then who cares where it come from

  26. why does this even matter? clean blood is clean blood whether you’re queer or not.

  27. I feel like HIV and other bloodborne diseases should be tested for in all blood samples no matter who the donor is

  28. Damn. There is a LOT of tired and false “scientific” sounding homophobia in here. Did you people not read the article? They are changing the rules because that “science” was bias and unsubstantiated and they have found evidence to support the contrary.

    If it smells like bullshit wrapped in science or religion or politics, it’s probably bullshit.

  29. What’s to stop a man from going to donate blood and lying about any of this, including being gay in the first place?

  30. Everyone in here loves talking about how much more likely gay men are to contract HIV but they are not also talking about how a hugely disproportionate number of those infections are black and brown men. Are you okay with discriminating based on race too?

  31. “we’re in a blood shortage!” *bans lgbtq*

  32. bout fuckin time. jeez

  33. Reply
    Pm-me-ur-happysauce December 1, 2022 at 2:02 am

    Blood is blood
    Humans are human
    Stop treating this any other way

  34. I’ve done lots of work for GMHC and the Blood Equality initiative. It’s beyond frustrating how slow to maneuver the FDA is. The implication continues to be that sexually active gay and bisexual men will cause the next pandemic.


  35. As a gay man with O negative blood….fn finally. I remember in high-school being denied in front of everyone because of my sexuality. Which led to me stealing the whole tray of cookies and no one did anything lol. Happy things are finally changing though

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