Best of: FDA moves to make it easier for men who have sex with men to give blood
Since it first issued a lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men (MSM) in 1985 over concerns about HIV transmission, the FDA has changed its policy on this issue twice. First, in 2015, it lifted the lifetime ban and imposed a one-year deferral period, requiring MSM to be abstinent for 12 months before they could donate. Then, in April of 2020, the administration shortened the waiting period to three months. Now, it has eliminated that time restriction altogether and shifted to individual HIV risk assessments for all donors.
To talk about what's in the FDA's newly updated guidelines, the science behind them, and the stigma they have caused, we were joined by a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases, an LGBTQ advocate, and a representative from a Midwestern blood bank.
This conversation originally aired Feb. 9, 2023.
Dr. Katharine Bar
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine | Attending physician in infectious diseases, University of Pennsylvania Hospital | Co-author, “Science over stigma: the need for evidence-based blood donation policies for men who have sex with men in the USA”
Founding Member, Greater Community AIDS Project of Champaign
Vice President for Donor Relations and Marketing, ImpactLife
Prepared for web by Owen Henderson
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