FDA Ends Ban on Gay and Bisexual Men Donating Blood

May 11, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday finalized new rules eliminating sweeping, decades-old bans on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

Gay and bisexual men were first banned from donating blood in 1985 over concerns about transmitting HIV to recipients through blood transfusions.

The new guidelines instead focus on individual risk behaviors, rather than sexual orientation. The new rules place restrictions against blood donations from anyone who’s had multiple sexual partners or engaged in anal sex in the previous three months.  

“The FDA has worked diligently to evaluate our policies and ensure we had the scientific evidence to support individual risk assessment for donor eligibility while maintaining appropriate safeguards to protect recipients of blood products. The implementation of these recommendations will represent a significant milestone for the agency and the LGBTQI+ community,” said Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Under Thursday’s final guidance, all prospective blood donors will answer “a series of individual, risk-based questions” to determine their eligibility, according to the FDA.

People who are currently taking medication to treat or prevent HIV infection will also be deferred from donating blood.

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