FDA drafts recommendation to allow men with same-sex relations to donate blood
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Food and Drug Administration announced a proposition to allow men who have monogamous same-sex relationships to be able to donate blood on Friday in a press release.
The change could mean more donors for a system that relies on the generosity of volunteers.
“It’s always a good thing to make our blood program here in the state accessible as possible to as many donors as possible — so long as that is done in a manner that ensures the safety, purity, and potency of the blood supply,” Blood Bank of Alaska CEO Robert Scanlon said.
Currently, men who have same-sex relations with other men must abstain from sexual activity for three months before they can donate blood. The proposed changes will alter the donor questionnaire to ask all donors if they have had new or multiple sexual partners within the last three months, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
“Maintaining a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products in the U.S. is paramount for the FDA, and this proposal for an individual risk assessment, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, will enable us to continue using the best science to do so,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. said administration’s press release.
If a donor has had sexual relations with a new partner or multiple partners in the months prior to donating, they will then be asked about a history of anal sex in that period of time. If they do report a history of each act, they will be deferred from donation.
The proposed changes, while being more inclusive, will also allow blood banks to keep higher stocks of blood, which could potentially save more lives.
“Whether it’s for someone involved in a car accident, or for an individual with a life-threatening illness, blood donations save lives every day,” Califf said.
The draft recommendations have been released, but it doesn’t mean changes will take effect yet. There is a 60-day public comment period until the FDA finalizes its proposal.
“The draft guidance is currently out for public review and comment for the next 60 days, and once we have the final version of the guidance, we’ll have a better idea of its impacts,” Scanlon said.
Until then, the FDA says they will be reviewing and considering all comments before finalizing the guidance to be used by all donation centers across the U.S.
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