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FDA amends blood donor guidelines for gay, bisexual men

Posted at 5:37 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 13:22:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — We've been telling you about the dire need for blood, both in Western New York and beyond. On Thursday, the FDA issued amended guidelines pertaining to blood donated by gay and bisexual men.

Previously, a ban was in place for gay and bisexual men, forbidding them from donating blood, unless they've abstained from sex for a year. But on Thursday, the Administration issued this update, "for male donors who would have been deferred for having sex with another man: the agency is changing the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months."

The move follows a petition circulated by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) looking for 20,000 signatures, calling on the FDA to lift the ban.

The FDA also issued these additional changes which will be implemented immediately:

· For female donors who would have been deferred for having sex with a man who had sex with another man: the agency is changing the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months.

· For those with recent tattoos and piercings: the agency is changing the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months.

· For those who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas (and are residents of malaria non-endemic countries): the agency is changing the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months. In addition, the guidance provides notice of an alternate procedure that permits the collection of blood and blood components from such donors without a deferral period, provided the blood components are pathogen-reduced using an FDA-approved pathogen reduction device.

· For those who spent time in certain European countries or on military bases in Europe who were previously considered to have been exposed to a potential risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the agency is eliminating the recommended deferrals and is recommending allowing reentry of these donors.