Today, Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set forth a recommendation to change the current MSM blood donation policy. The current policy, set forth in the height of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, forbade men who have had sex with men since 1977 from donating blood. The new policy laid out by Commissioner Hamburg calls for men who have had sexual contact with another man to refrain from donating blood for one year since that contact.
This recommended change is consistent with the recommendation of an independent expert advisory panel the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, and will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, in collaboration with the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the FDA has already taken steps to implement a national blood surveillance system that will help the agency monitor the effect of a policy change and further help to ensure the continued safety of the blood supply.
On December 2, 2014, HFA made a statement at a FDA hearing about the MSM ban on gay men. To read our statement, click here