FDA Will Now Allow Blood Donations From Gay, Bisexual Men and Transgender Women

The brand new FDA guidelines on blood donation will likely be extra gender-inclusive, the company stated.

The Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced on Thursday that will probably be ending a longstanding blood donation coverage that discriminates in opposition to homosexual and bisexual males, in addition to some transgender girls.

Restrictions on these teams have been in place for many years. In 1985, the FDA mandated an “indefinite deferral” of gay and bisexual men giving blood, citing the upper prevalence of HIV infections within the homosexual neighborhood throughout that point, although the illness may be transferred no matter gender or sexual orientation.

The coverage was modified in 2015, permitting homosexual and bisexual males to provide blood in the event that they abstained from intercourse for a full yr. In 2020, through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, that point interval was shortened to 3 months.

The proposal introduced this week will use “risk-based questions to cut back the danger of transfusion-transmitted HIV,” reasonably than assuming the extent of threat based mostly on an individual’s gender or sexual orientation, the FDA said in a statement.

“Sustaining a secure and sufficient provide of blood and blood merchandise within the U.S. is paramount for the FDA, and this proposal for a person threat evaluation, no matter gender or sexual orientation, will allow us to proceed utilizing the very best science to take action,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf stated.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Heart for Biologics Analysis and Analysis, additionally commented on the brand new coverage.

“Our strategy to this work has at all times been, and can proceed to be, based mostly on the very best obtainable science and information,” Marks said, including that the company “will proceed to observe the very best obtainable scientific proof to keep up an sufficient provide of blood and reduce the danger of transmitting infectious illnesses and are dedicated to finalizing this draft steerage as shortly as attainable.”

As a substitute of specializing in an individual’s gender or sexual orientation, a pre-screening questionnaire will ask about sexual historical past and the variety of companions an individual has. Folks with a number of companions will be deferred from giving blood till they’ve just one sexual accomplice for a three-month interval, per the company’s new tips.

The modifications to the FDA’s guidelines on blood donation will require a public comment period earlier than they’re formally applied, a course of that usually takes around two months. The brand new guidelines could possibly be in place as early as this spring.

Many celebrated the rule change, however famous that there have been nonetheless points with the coverage.

The “FDA announcement is HUGE … That is what progress and advocacy seems like,” Tony Morrison, senior director for communications of GLAAD, said on Twitter in response to the announcement.

“That is absurdly late, however thank god, lastly,” journalist Lauren Wolfe tweeted, including that the foundations solely allowing monogamous folks to donate had been “nonetheless terrible.”

Jay Franzone, communications director of the Nationwide Homosexual Blood Drive, famous that among the new guidelines discouraged secure intercourse practices for homosexual and bisexual males. The brand new coverage would deny homosexual males who’re taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment — meant to forestall HIV an infection as a consequence of unintentional publicity — from giving blood till they cease taking the medication for 3 months.

“One step ahead, one other again,” Franzone commented. “Whereas the FDA is now utilizing an individualized risk-based strategy, they’re basically punishing individuals who take PrEP to forestall HIV an infection.”