WASHINGTON – No longer will a male blood donor be asked if he has ever had sex with another male since 1977, nor will a female blood donor be asked if she has had sex with a male that had sex with another male in that same time frame, the Federal Drug Administration announced today.
Instead, the question asked of only of male blood donors will be if they've had similar sexual encounters within the past 12 months. If they haven't, they will be allowed to donate blood.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released final rules on Monday that would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year. The agency says that the concerns associated with HIV transmission has diminished substantially since 1983.
“Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the U.S. population. We will continue to actively conduct research in this area and further revise our policies as new data emerge," Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, wrote in a statement issued Monday.
Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley (IL-05) has been pushing for a new policy for some time.
“A time-based deferral focusing solely on men who have sex with men is still discriminatory and fails to exclude donors based on actual risk factors,” Quigley wrote in a statement last winter when the draft rules were issued.