Showing posts with label Donating Blood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donating Blood. Show all posts

July 19, 2019

France Will Ease Restrictions on Gay Men To Donate Blood

The French government has banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood within a year of sexual activity since 2016. On Wednesday it said it would lower this “deferral” period – long been criticized as discriminatory – to four months. 

Homosexual men will be able to give blood four months after sexual intercourse instead of 12 months, France’s health ministry announced, in a policy shift that owes more to medical progress than to changing attitudes towards homosexuality.

Under current rules, men who have sex with men are barred from donating blood for a year following their last sexual encounter in order to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The health ministry, which will implement the changes on February 1, 2020, said the decision to relax the abstinence period was based on the latest scientific evidence and medical advances.  

It said the change marked a “first step” in plans to bring donor conditions for gay men in line with those for heterosexuals by 2022, pending a “transparent” evaluation of the potential risks involved.

The announcement comes a month after gay rights groups filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging discrimination by France, pointing out that the 12-month abstinence rule “effectively excludes 93.8% of gay men from donating blood”.


The issue is particularly sensitive in France, where hundreds of people died in the 1980s after HIV-tainted blood was distributed by the national blood transfusion center.

France instituted a total ban on gay men giving blood in 1983 as part of efforts to halt the spread of AIDS, mirroring steps taken in a majority of Western countries.

After years of campaigning by LGBT rights activists, the ban was finally lifted in 2016 – but replaced with a 12-month “deferral” period, during which would-be donors had to abstain from sexual activity.

>> After 30-year ban, gay men in France allowed to donate blood

Many other countries that have lifted bans on gay men giving blood have also introduced 12-month waiting periods, including the United States, Australia, Japan, and Sweden. Italy, Spain, and Russia are among only a handful of European countries that don't have a deferral policy.

In justifying the restrictions, health authorities noted that men who have unprotected sex with men are at a significantly higher risk of infection and that the virus’s long dormancy period made it hard to detect.

In 2016, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that governments were allowed to ban – or restrict – homosexual blood donors if they could prove it was the best way to limit the risk of HIV infection.

Evolving evidence

However, scientific innovation has steadily chipped away at the rationale for restrictions on gay donors, while critics have questioned the wisdom of excluding healthy donors when blood shortages are common.

Back in 2010, when gay men were still barred from giving blood in the United States, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conceded that the ban was "suboptimal" in that it allowed "some potentially high-risk donations while preventing some potentially low-risk donations".

Announcing its decision to partially lift the ban five years later, the agency said: “the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the US population".

Since then, the evidence has moved on again.

In July 2017, the UK government announced it would lower the deferral period to three months, based on the recommendations of the country’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues, and Organs (SaBTO), which concluded that new testing systems were sufficiently quick and accurate.

Later that year, a team of Australian researchers concluded in a report published by scientific journal Transfusion that a 12-month deferral “exceeds what is required to maintain blood safety”.

“[W]ith current testing technologies the window period during which infection may be present but not detected is now less than 1 week,” the authors wrote. “While there is a moral imperative to maintain blood safety, there is also a moral imperative to ensure that differential treatment of population groups with regard to donation eligibility is scientifically justified.”

In place of the year-long abstinence period, the authors recommended reducing the timeframe to three months, noting that such a move “will not increase health risks to recipients and may have the social benefit of increasing inclusiveness”.

‘Not a human right’

Scientific progress has also informed France’s decision to ease blood donation rules.

Studies carried out by Santé Publique France (SPF), the French public health authority, have shown that the decision to lift the ban on gay donors in 2016 did not increase the risk of HIV infection. They also revealed that the vast majority of donors complied with the rules.

However, the health ministry resisted calls to give homosexuals and heterosexuals equal treatment when it comes to blood donations.

“Being able to donate blood is not a right, it’s a civic gesture that is subject to safety rules,” France’s health ministry told AFP news agency on Wednesday, noting that heterosexual men who have had more than one partner over the last four months are also barred from giving blood.

Late last year, lawmakers in the French National Assembly also rejected a bill that would have placed equal conditions on heterosexual and homosexual men. One of the bill’s sponsors, centrist lawmaker Jean-Luc Lagleize, had called for “the criteria of exclusion [from blood donations] to be high-risk behavior – and not a person’s sexual orientation”.

Even with a shorter “deferral” period, restrictions on gay blood donors continue to reflect discriminatory attitudes toward gay and bisexual men, writes Jennifer Power, a research fellow at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health, and Society.

“A gay man who has been having safe sex, including within a monogamous relationship, is not necessarily at higher risk of acquiring HIV than a woman who has had multiple sexual partners and possibly unsafe sex,” says Power.

“Yet a heterosexual woman is not banned from blood donation because she has had sex. Instead, heterosexual women are trusted to make their own assessment and accurate disclosure of their likely HIV risk. Gay and bisexual men are not.”

August 27, 2018

Denmark Will Permit Gay and Bisexual Men to Donate Blood in 2019

However, if the man is single they must have been celibate for four months prior to donating.

Denmark has announced that is lifting the ban on gay men donating blood. Men who are single still face some obstacles however, as they must have been celibate for four months before doing so. However, men who are in relationships will be allowed to donate regardless of when they last had sex.
Speaking to the CPH Online, Danish Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby said: “The authority [patient safety] has found a model we feel is safe and we will therefore incorporate it into Denmark.
“All safety mechanisms in our blood donation system are built on trust and we have some very advanced tests that screen the blood.”
CPH Online reported that it was strange that the ban hadn’t been lifted beforehand, as there has been political support for the idea for many years. A date for the ban to be lifted has not yet been announced, but it is expected to take place at some point in 2019.
Bans on gay and bisexual men donating blood are slowly being removed. Earlier this year, Israel announced that it would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood.
However, the process would still be more difficult than it would be for a straight man. Patients will have their blood checked for infectious diseases, and will have to wait four months while their plasma is separated and frozen.
Donors will then have to donate a second time, and if the results for HIV – and other diseases – comes back as negative, then their blood will be authorised for use.
And last year, the UK government announced that it was removing the 12-month ban on celibacy and replacing it with a three-month ban.
“We’re pleased the Government recognises there is still more to be done to ensure all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception,” said Stonewall’s CEO Ruth Hunt.
“Change to the blood donation rules are welcome. However, while this is an important move, it’s vital that this is a stepping stone to a system that doesn’t automatically exclude most gay and bi men.
“We would like to see individualised risk assessment, and are encouraged that the Government and NHS Blood and Transplant Service are committed to exploring how to do this.”

June 16, 2018

Men Can Not Give Blood in America{ There is no Medical Reason Only Political

This page by Josh and Levi is in THENIB. I thought it is a simple page yet powerful enough and it should be spread on a day like yesterday (and everyday) which we have set aside to bring attention about the discrimination about blood and Gay men. Yes blood which at one time it used to scared doctors and All other medical peronnel is no longer scary, I hope. We went from using blood which is always been a life saver to use it as an instrument of division and discrimnation. Blood still blood. It still saves lives. Gay men should not be set aside as not capable, not good enough to save our borthers and sisters lives with or blood. This is one more brick on the wall of discrimination and like all other walls not grounded on truth it will have to fall.🦊Adam Gonzalez

It’s 2018, and Gay Men Still Can’t Give Blood in America

Posted Today 

October 4, 2017

The Gay Community Wants to Help The Vegas Blood Shortage but They Are Not Allowed

On Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, a gunman took fire at the country festival crowd from an above hotel room, killing 59 people and injuring around 527 others.

Las Vegas police found the gunman dead in his hotel room, along with rounds of ammunition and a huge hoard of weaponry. The FBI claimed the gunman had no links to any terrorist organisations, but this was an act of terrorism, nonetheless.

A video emerged online of country singer Jason Aldean’s performance being ambushed by gunfire. The terrifying footage shows the panic and chaos amongst the crowd, as music quickly turns into screaming.

This is one of the deadliest shootings in modern US history, with many calling once again for gun control laws to be put into place in the United States.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there are hundreds that need medical attention. 
As a surge of crowd members arrived at the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Centre located close to the concert venue, needing treatment for their injuries, and in some cases, what proved to be fatalities.
Steve Sisolak, a current candidate for Governor of Las Vegas, posted a plea to Twitter asking for people to donate blood, which was retweeted by the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman.

However, despite their urge for blood donations, gay and bisexual men are still being prevented from donating blood as a result of old legislation, through fear of being contaminated by HIV or syphilis.

Former NSYNC singer and Las Vegas native Lance Bass tweeted his frustration at the ban: “How is it STILL illegal for gays to donate blood??!! I want to donate and I’m not allowed.”

In the midst of a tragedy like this, it seems even more absurd that gay people can’t donate blood.

Under current United States laws, as in many other countries, if you’re a man who has sex with men (MSM), you cannot donate blood unless you’ve abstained from sex for at least 12 months.

“All US blood collection organisations must follow this federal requirement,” say the American Red Cross under the LGBTQ guidelines section of their website.

Let’s hope that these restrictions are overturned – it’s about time.

For now, our thoughts are with anyone affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas.

Words Jamie Dixon

July 24, 2017

UK Government Changes Rules for Gay Men Giving Blood

 Rules Changed from a year to three months after having sex. The virus can be detected rather quickly.  The waiting time is way more than needed as a safety window. A year it would seem to this blog was more political than scientific, which is the way the US and some other countries are opting for. Meanwhile, the need for blood increases not diminishes.

Gay men will be allowed to donate blood three months after having sex rather than a year, under equalities reforms announced by the Government. 

Transgender people will also be able to choose their legal sex more easily as part of the shake-up announced by Education Secretary Justine Greening.

Fears over infections being passed on through donations from gay men led to an outright ban at the height of the Aids epidemic, but that was cut to 12 months in 2011. 

Government set to make it easier for gay men to give blood

The new guidelines, which campaign groups have been calling for, are in line with improved NHS testing measures, which can establish whether someone has a blood infection such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis within three months.

LGBT rights activists, who want to get rid of the blanket deferral period entirely, have hailed the shift in policy as a major step towards a fair and equal system.

Ms. Greening, who is also equalities minister, said the Government was building on the progress on tackling prejudice made in the 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality. 
“This Government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality and today we’re taking the next step forward,” she said.

“We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.” 
Government set to make it easier for gay men to give blood

Reforms making it easier for transgender people to choose their sex legally by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and speeding up the bureaucratic process will be consulted on in the autumn.

Ms. Greening said she wanted to cut the stigma faced by trans people, who have to provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this week indicated she was preparing to reform the Gender Recognition Act, saying that “when it comes to rights and protections for trans people, there is still a long way to go”. 

Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall trans advisory group, said: “Reform is one of the key priorities in our vision for removing the huge inequalities that trans people face in the UK. The current system is demeaning and broken.

“It’s vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognized through a simple administrative process. That’s what we’ll be calling for during this consultation, and I’m looking forward to seeing the law change soon after."

The Government accepted the recommendations of the advisory committee on the safety of blood, tissues, and organs (SaBTO) on changing the deferral periods for blood donations from gay men. 

Ethan Spibey, the founder of the FreedomToDonate group that has campaigned for reform, said: "Today’s announcement from the Government marks a world-leading blood donation policy for gay and bisexual men and the other groups previously restricted. 

“I’m so proud that the work of FreedomToDonate and our supporters will help ensure more people than ever before are allowed to safely donate blood.

“I began this campaign because I wanted to repay the donor who saved my granddad’s life after a major operation and this announcement means I’m closer than ever to doing that, with the invaluable help of our team of volunteers, and the charities and organizations FreedomToDonate represents.” 

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said the changes were “welcome” but that it was merely a “stepping stone” on the path to a more inclusive system.

“Changes to the blood donation rules are welcome. However, while this is an important move, it’s vital that this is a stepping stone to a system that doesn’t automatically exclude most gay and bi men,” she said.

“We would like to see individualized risk assessment, and are encouraged that the Government and NHS Blood and Transplant Service are committed to exploring how to do this.”

Stewart McDonald MP, who co-chairs the all party parliamentary group on blood donation that led on the Parliamentary Inquiry said: “I am delighted at this monumental change in blood donation policy, which will ensure more people than ever before can donate blood and increase blood stock whilst always maintaining its safety and integrity."


December 5, 2016

Gay Blood Donation Science Now Political Most Change Faster

More than 30 years ago, as the AIDS epidemic exploded, the nation’s blood banks banned donations from men who had sex with other men.

The logic was sound at the time. Tests of the era couldn’t adequately detect HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. As a result, thousands of people unwittingly contracted HIV from tainted blood during transfusions. Banning donations from gay men was a drastic step, but necessary to protect the nation’s blood supply.

Things have changed in the intervening three decades, though — including the science of blood testing. Tests are now so accurate and rapid that blood banks can tell with near certainty if blood has been infected with HIV even if the donor had been exposed to the virus just 10 days previously. Today, the risk of contracting HIV from blood in the United States is only about 1 in 1.5 million.

The advances in testing mean a blanket donor ban on gay and bisexual men is no longer necessary. With that in mind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration studied relaxing the ban and last year it wisely acceded to calls to update its blood donation recommendations and stop calling for a lifetime ban on donations from men who have sex with men. The FDA continued to recommend a ban on donations from commercial sex workers and intravenous drug abusers. Although the recommendations do not have the force of law, blood banks typically adopt rules at least as stringent for liability reasons.

The recommendations adopted in December were not much of an improvement, however. Men could donate only if they hadn’t had sex with another man for 12 months. Why 12 months? Good question. There’s no science that supports a yearlong donor deferral for gay and bisexual men. It seems the FDA chose 12 months not because that span of time is demonstrably safer but because that’s what other countries (including Britain and Australia) have done.

But a year without sex is a de facto ban for sexually active men, making the new rules just as senselessly discriminatory as the old ones. This became clear to the public in June after the deadliest shooting in the nation’s history, when a gunman opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. When members of the local LGBT community turned out to give blood to help those injured in the shooting, many were barred from doing so.

The incident prompted 24 U.S. senators to sign a letter to the FDA, asking the agency to develop “better blood donor deferral rules that are grounded in science, based on individual risk factors, don’t unfairly single out one group of individuals, and allow all healthy Americans to donate.”

The FDA agreed to reconsider its call for a 12-month waiting period. Instead, it said it would look at the feasibility of a system that evaluates potential male donors based on the risk posed by their individual behavior. This process is supported by gay rights advocates, some public health experts and the American Medical Association. We agree. The waiting period should be shortened to a more reasonable length and donors should be evaluated based on their behavior, not their sexuality.

It’s time to end to restrictions that are based on fear rather than science. The FDA should shorten the recommended waiting period to a more practicable length and work toward developing a risk assessment model.

— Los Angeles Times

September 1, 2016

Lifetime Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood in Northern Ireland “Lifted”

A controversial lifetime ban on gay men donating blood in Northern Ireland has been lifted.

The decision by Stormont Health Minister Michelle O’Neill comes after a long campaign by gay rights activists and a series of court battles over the contentious prohibition.

A similar ban was ended in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011 and replaced with rules that allowed gay men to give blood 12 months after their last sexual encounter with another man.

Northern Ireland has now adopted the same deferral policy. 
Mrs O’Neill said: “As Health Minister my first responsibility in this matter is patient safety.

“Surveillance data from England, Scotland and Wales and survey evidence from across Britain and the north of Ireland have provided assurance that the risk is lower with a one-year deferral.

“My decision is based on the evidence regarding the safety of donated blood.”

The lifetime ban had been retained in Northern Ireland by successive Democratic Unionist health ministers, who cited blood safety concerns.

A lifetime ban on donations by men who have had sex with men was introduced in the UK and many other countries in the 1980s in response to the emergence of AIDS.

In May 2011 UK experts concluded that the evidence no longer supported a lifetime ban and in September 2011 the health ministers in England, Scotland and Wales adopted a one-year deferral.

The absolute prohibition remained in place in Northern Ireland until today.

In the most recent court judgement on the gay blood ban, the Court of Appeal decided the decision on whether to lift the ban rested with Stormont, not the UK Health Secretary.

A previous ruling that former DUP health minister Edwin Poots had acted with pre-determined bias based on his Christian beliefs in retaining the ban was overturned.

It was one of a number of LGBT issues that have stirred controversy at Stormont.

The most high profile remaining dispute is over the ongoing bar on same-sex marriage.

June 29, 2016

Coalition in Congress Being Formed to Have FDA Lift Blood Ban on LGBT

Image result for gay blood                                                                                                                           

A coalition is building to put pressure on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to lift its ban on sexually active men donating blood.

In a letter, obtained by SFGN and addressed to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, 116 current members of the U.S. Congress express their collective disappointment with current FDA deferral policy on blood donation for men who have sex with men (MSM).
“In practice, the current FDA deferral policy effectively leaves the majority of MSM ineligible to donate blood, as the 12-month celibacy requirement is unrealistic for most healthy gay and bisexual men to meet,” the letter reads.
Dated June 20, the letter is signed by 10 members of Florida’s delegation: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston), Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar), Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach), Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), Frederica Wilson (D-Miami Gardens), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami), Patrick E. Murphy (D-Jupiter), Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), Carlos Curbelo (R-Kendall) and Alan Grayson (D-Orlando).
“We are concerned that the 12-month deferral policy, which suggests that the sexual relationships of MSM men and transgender women inherently pose a risk of HIV transmission, furthers a stigma that we have persistently fought to eliminate,” the letter states.
The ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood has long been a bone of contention for progressive activists. Enacted in 1983 during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the ban, scientists insist, no longer makes sense. Last year, the FDA updated its policy to allow MSM men and transgender women to donate blood following one year of celibacy.
In their letter to Commissioner Califf, members of Congress called the deferral policy “unsound.”
“The FDA questionnaire should reflect risk-based behaviors as opposed to sexual orientation,” the letter states.
The blood ban issue came to light following the atrocities at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were killed and another 53 wounded in what is being called the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. With blood in demand, many healthy gay and bisexual men felt helpless to come to the aid of their community.
“It is beyond time to lift this discriminatory ban,” said Murphy.
Added Grayson, “After a tragedy, giving blood is a form of showing solidarity, even citizenship.”

South Florida Gay News
John McDonald

June 16, 2016

Gay Men Are Barred from Donating Blood If They had Sex within 1 yr.


Why? You might ask.  For not any good reason I can think of since the virus cannot only be detected by antibodies but now they can see the virus and know what it looks like within reason, taking into account its mutations. Which means they can detect the virus safely within a short period of time after being infected. True the time varies within days but you can also have a more than safe time period of 3 wks down to 2 weeks let’s say. Actually the real fair way is not to ask anybody who they have intercourse with rather when was the last time. Asking who you fuck should only be your business and it should have nothing to do when you want to do your civic duty and help your community. Right now the system is on the honesty system. I am sure people working for companies that push employees to donate blood have closeted employees that will be disqualified if honest but they lie and give blood but it is donated and taken. Which means unsafe blood is being donated all the time and so far its gotten caught if infected. There are no cases of people catching HIV through blood transfusions. What does it mean? The system works to detect untainted blood. No need to have artificial false timelines to alleviate the anti gay lobby.
The National Gay Blood Drive said in a statement, “While many gay and bisexual men will be eligible to donate their blood and help save lives under this 12-month deferral, countless more will continue to be banned solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and without medical or scientific reasoning.” 

In a Q&A on its website, the FDA explained its decision to get rid of its lifetime ban and change it to a 12-month ban, stating, "FDA expects that the changes made to the recommendations will maintain or improve blood safety with respect to HIV. The change with respect to [men who have had sex with other men] reflects current scientific evidence, and better aligns the deferral period with the deferral period for other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection."

Many people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community have expressed their concern and outrage over the policy, suggesting that it is still a discriminatory practice. Some have expressed outrage over the fact that queer men are unable to donate to their own partners, including Colorado Congressman Jared Polis.

The FDA's ban dates back to 1985, when the AIDS epidemic was first noticed in the U.S. and all queer men were banned from donating blood. However, though the policy's limit has been shortened to a time period that the FDA thinks is long enough to detect an infection, according to The Huffington Post, Whitman-Walker Health, an Washington D.C. LGBTQ community health center, has suggested that the waiting period doesn't have to be 12 months. This is especially due to the fact that HIV can be detected in a short period of time — "as little as nine days," according to The New York Times.

OneBlood, a blood center that services the state of Florida, posted a statement on Sunday noting "There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida." You can help by donating at local blood donation centers.

May 13, 2015

FDA to Recommend Gay and Bisexual Men Can Donate Blood

The Food and Drug Administration has formally proposed letting gay and bisexual men donate blood, so long as they've abstained from sex for a year.
The recommendation changes the current guidance, which is that any man who have ever had sex with another man in his entire life should never be able to donate blood. It's a policy that has enraged gay rights groups and that is virtually impossible to enforce.
"No transmissions of HIV, hepatitis B virus, or hepatitis C virus have been documented through U.S.-licensed plasma derived products in the past two decades," the FDA says in its recommendation.
The FDA also handed a victory to transgender people, saying donors may choose how to identify their sex.
The reason for banning donations by men who have sex with other men is simple: they are at much higher risk of becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as other viruses such as hepatitis B and C.
"No transmissions of HIV, hepatitis B virus, or hepatitis C virus have been documented through U.S.-licensed plasma derived products in the past two decades."
"Since September 1985, FDA has recommended that blood establishments indefinitely defer male donors who have had sex with another male, even one time, since 1977, due to the strong clustering of AIDS illness in the MSM (men who have sex with men) community and the subsequent discovery of high rates of HIV infection in that population," FDA says in its guidance.
Before 1985, people did become infected with HIV from blood transfusions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2001 that more than 14,000 people were infected that way.
There are good blood tests that are now used to screen blood donations for HIV and many other viruses, such as hepatitis. The American Red Cross and America's Blood Centers, which collect donations, say the lifetime ban is unnecessary. CDC says the risk of getting HIV from a transfusion is one in 1.5 million.

Mayor can't be blood donor due to sexual orientation

The tests don't detect a very recent infection, however. To be safe, the FDA wants to stick with the one-year limit. The FDA first said it would change the guidance last December.
"We recommend that donors be provided donor education material before each donation explaining the risk of HIV transmission by blood and blood products, certain behaviors associated with the risk of HIV infection, and the signs and symptoms associated with HIV infection, so that donors can self-defer," FDA says.
"The donor education material should be presented to donors in a manner they will understand, which may include oral, written, or multimedia formats. The donor education material should instruct the donor not to donate when a risk factor for HIV infection or signs or symptoms of HIV infection are present."
FDA says other countries have allowed gay and bisexual men to donate blood with little problem. They include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Japan, Sweden and Britain.
About 7 percent of U.S. men report that they have ever had sex with another man and 4 percent of men have done so in the past five years.
FDA says other groups should still be asked not to donate blood, including prostitutes and injecting drug users.
"Recent data indicate that commercial sex work and injection drug use are behaviors that continue to place individuals both at a relatively high risk of HIV infection and at a relatively high risk of window period transmission of HIV," FDA notes. "Window period" is the short period of time before a test can detect an infection in blood.
"This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply."
The Human Rights Campaign, which has pushed hard to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, is still critical of FDA's new policy.
"While the new policy is a step in the right direction toward an ideal policy that reflects the best scientific research, it still falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men," said the group's top policy official, David Stacy. "This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply."
FDA notes this is guidance and not any type of regulation. "Guidances describe the FDA's current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited."
The guidance also asks people not to donate blood if they've recently received a transfusion, and it asks women who have had recent sex with a bisexual or gay man to wait a year before donating.

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