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Blood Assurance: New FDA Regulations Allows Homosexual Donations

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Blood Assurance: New FDA Regulations Allows Homosexual Donations

More homosexual and bi-sexual individuals can now donate blood after the FDA-adjusted donor guidelines, according to Blood Assurance officials.

Blood Assurance Chief Medical Officer Liz Culler said that starting Monday, if a male has not had sex with another male in the past three months, he is free to donate.

“Any changes we make, we want it to be based on evidence, and I think that that evidence is here and that we understand better how HIV is transmitted, and that allows us to take out any high-risk donors while leaving in any healthy donors who are able to donate, and we need those healthy donors,” Culler said.

Culler said she had sensed that this change might have been coming. Over the past several years, the FDA has eased the restrictions against homosexuals donating blood.

“We saw that other countries were adopting this,” Culler said. “Not just one, but several countries were adopting this, and those policies have been in place for several years now in those other countries. So, I think the evidence was mounting, and that’s what led the FDA to change its guidelines.”

Culler said during the 1980s, homosexual men were indefinitely deferred, and likely would not be able to give blood at all. More recently, the deferment period was shortened to three months. Culler said that as disease research has grown, the FDA has been able to make more accurate decisions about disease prevention in blood donation.

“We believe that this change is in line with the science,” Culler said. “We understand so much more about how HIV is transmitted now, and we know that the risk factor is that you’ve had a new sexual partner, and we know that anal sex is, it makes you at higher risk.”

Culler said the FDA helped to fund a study on HIV that played a major role in the changes being made.

“Based on those results, the FDA felt that they could make a change,” Culler said. “They could identify people at high risk of having HIV based on behaviors, rather than sexual orientation.”

Culler said as of Monday, the revised questions are in the Blood Assurance questionnaire sheet. Culler said they are always in need of blood, so having the opportunity to increase the number of healthy donors allowed to give is always a good thing.


The post Blood Assurance: New FDA Regulations Allows Homosexual Donations appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.