A employee with Vitalant locations a needle on the arm of a blood donor as he prepares to donate blood through the Hoboken group Vitalant blood drive held at Hoboken Rec Center on June 25, 2021 in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
The American Red Cross is now permitting gay and bisexual men to donate blood with out restrictions that particularly single out an individual’s sexual orientation or gender, the nonprofit group mentioned Monday.
The Red Cross is implementing new Food and Drug Administration screening tips that apply to all potential donors and are primarily based on a person threat evaluation. The Red Cross gives about 40% of the nation’s blood provide.
Under the brand new FDA tips, men in monogamous sexual relationships with different men are eligible to donate so long as they meet different screening standards. Previously, men who had intercourse with men needed to stay abstinent for 3 months earlier than donating blood.
The three-month ready interval now applies to anybody, no matter sexual orientation or gender, who has had intercourse with a brand new accomplice or a number of folks and has additionally had anal intercourse.
The Red Cross mentioned in a press release that the group understands the ready interval primarily based on a historical past of anal intercourse seems to unfairly goal gay and bisexual men.
The nonprofit group mentioned it’s working with the FDA to make the blood-donation tips extra inclusive.
The FDA in May dropped an almost 40-year coverage that had singled out men who’ve intercourse with men as excessive threat to the blood provide over issues about HIV transmission.
Gay rights teams and main medical associations had lengthy opposed this coverage as pointless, unsupported by the present science and discriminatory.
The American Medical Association criticized the FDA coverage as unfairly singling out gay men somewhat than an individual’s particular person threat elements. While gay men confronted donation restrictions, even when that they had protected intercourse, straight men and ladies who had unprotected intercourse with a number of companions might nonetheless donate.
In the wake of the AIDs disaster within the Eighties, the FDA instructed blood-donation businesses to not settle for blood from men who’ve intercourse with men. This coverage was in place from 1985 till 2015.
This coverage was applied at a time when HIV was poorly understood and remained in place at the same time as know-how considerably improved to display donations for blood-borne ailments, in keeping with the AMA.
The FDA modified its tips in 2015 to permit men who’ve intercourse with men to donate blood, however they needed to stay abstinent for a 12 months earlier than doing so. The company shortened the abstinence interval to 3 months in 2020 amid a blood scarcity through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those taking oral medicine to forestall HIV an infection, referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, nonetheless have to attend three months from their final dose to donate blood. People taking long-acting PrEP injections have to attend two years earlier than donating.
Anyone who has ever examined constructive for HIV stays completely barred from donating blood.