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against a relaxation of the rules for blood donation from homosexuals

In the United States, homosexuals who wish to donate blood must currently abstain from sex for three months.

The US health authorities proposed on Friday a new relaxation of the restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men since the 1980s and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

They currently have to abstain from sex for three months if they want to donate blood, even if they are in an exclusive relationship.

An individual risk assessment

The new measures proposed by the US drug agency, FDA, would end this 90-day abstinence period in favor of an individual risk assessment for each donor.

When the AIDS epidemic wreaked havoc in the 1980s, the FDA imposed a total ban on blood donation to gay and bisexual men to prevent the spread of the virus through blood products.

According to the new guidelines, potential donors must fill in a questionnaire and indicate in particular whether they have had new sexual partners within the last three months or whether they have had several, as is customary for heterosexuals.

Those who report having had new or multiple sex partners will then be asked if they had anal sex during this time. Otherwise, they would not be able to donate blood.

“Maintaining a Blood Supply”

Even after this possible relaxation, people who tested positive for HIV or were taking medication to treat an HIV infection would still be unable to donate blood.

“This proposal for an individual risk assessment regardless of gender or sexual orientation will allow us to continue to use the best scientific procedures” to “maintain a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products in the United States,” an “overall goal of the FDA,” agency chief Robert Califf said in a statement.

The FDA said the new guidelines would be consistent with similar regulations in Canada and Britain. These measures will be open to public debate for 60 days before being reviewed and finalized.




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