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Underneath up-to-date FDA pointers, MSM in monogamous relationships is not going to have to abstain from intercourse earlier than giving blood. All donors will likely be requested the identical set of questions below the brand-new risk-based coverage, no matter how they are established.
Learn on to know the background concerning the blood donation ban, why the FDA has made this vital coverage change, and what it means to you.
Why was there a ban on blood donations for homosexual and bisexual males?
Through the nineteen-eighties, there was a variety of worries surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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“When the epidemic first turned recognized, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS, had not but been found, however research revealed that individuals within the MSM neighborhood have been on the best threat of contracting HIV and spreading it to others,” mentioned Christopher J. Gresens, MD, medical and laboratory director for Vitalant, West Division.
In 1983, the FDA issued a lifetime ban on blood and plasma donation for MSM primarily based on its restricted information about HIV and the way it unfolded. Whereas perceived by many as harsh and discriminatory, the rule was supposed to keep HIV out of the blood provided.
What questions will I be asked if I wish to donate blood?
Underneath the brand new pointers, all potential donors will likely be asked about their latest sexual historical past. The extra-focused questions will give attention to whether or not somebody has had new or several companions and anal intercourse within the final three months.
Potential donors will likely be turned away if the reply is “sure” to the questions. Potential donors who reply “no” to the questions could also be eligible to donate, supplied they meet all different eligibility standards.
Individuals can be thought-about ineligible if they’ve:
- Exchanged intercourse for a type of fee within the final three months
- A historical past of non-prescription injection drug use
- Had a constructive check for HIV or taken any medicine to deal with HIV infection
When you take oral medicines to forestall HIV, comparable to PrEP or PEP, you have to wait three months out of your most up-to-date dose to donate. When you take injectable PrEP to forestall HIV infection, you have to wait two years out of your most up-to-date injection.
“The out there information reveals that the usage of these preventive medicines might delay the detection of HIV by licensed screening checks for blood donations, probably leading to a false detrimental result that’s related to an HIV-infectious unit of blood,” Dr. Gresens mentioned.
Why make the modifications to blood donations now?
Over time, a lot has modified our understanding of how HIV is transmitted, and the dangers related to completely different actions. Developments in testing and stricter protocols have helped practically get rid of HIV transmission by way of blood transfusions.
In 2015, the overall ban was eradicated, and MSM have been allowed to donate blood if they abstained from intercourse for one year. Then, in 2020, throughout the top of COVID-19, it was lowered to finish abstinence from intercourse for 3 months.
“We’ve come a good distance throughout recent years, owing largely to the sturdy work by scientists and policymakers of goodwill and the communities who’ve urged and championed progress,” Dr. Gresens mentioned.
This transformation is vital as the USA’s blood provides has been critically low, and an inflow of the latest donors might save tens of millions of lives.
“There’s an estimated 7% to 10% of the inhabitants who establish as LGBTQ+, and eradicating this ban will increase the potential pool of individuals by tens of millions,” Dr. Gelow mentioned. “Eradicating gender and sexual orientation discrimination from the danger evaluation for blood donation will take us in the fitting route to deal with stigmas and discrimination in opposition to MSM and assist save extra lives.”
When and the way typically can I begin donating blood?
It is best to wait at least eight weeks between common entire blood donations and 16 weeks (about 3 and a half months) between double purple blood cell donations to permit your physique an opportunity to recuperate and produce extra blood cells to replenish what you misplaced.
Nonetheless, Dr. Gresens famous, “You might be able to come in additional typically in case you solely donate non-red blood cell-containing blood merchandise, comparable to platelets and plasma.”
“Ready these durations might help your physique recuperate the blood cells and vitamins wanted to keep away from you from changing into anemic or having any long-term results from frequent blood donations,” Dr. Gelow mentioned. “In case you are donating commonly, consuming a well-balanced meal or complement with a multivitamin that accommodates iron is vital.”
Homosexual and bisexual males or MSM will quickly be capable of donating blood without having to abstain from intercourse for months, after a long time of being banned. The FDA has up to date its suggestions, so all potential donors are requested the identical screening questions.
This transformation will increase the number of people who can donate blood within the U.S. by tens of millions.