Statement on FDA Easing Restrictions on MSM Blood Donations
Over the past year, CFM has been active in working with the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan to petition the FDA to overturn the blood donation ban on men-who-have-sex-with men (MSM) & women-who-have-sex-with-MSM. We applaud the FDA decision to end this ban, instead replacing it with a general risk-assessment. Protecting the public health can be balanced with non-discrimination by recognizing that anyone engaged in non-monogamous sexual behavior is at higher risk of HIV & it is not exclusive to gay or bisexual men. The message the MSM ban always sent was one of discrimination & placed further stigma on gay & bisexual men.
CFM recognizes that although this updated policy is progress, that many LGBTQ+ people will still have to wait 3 months after each sexual encounter to donate blood if they are on PrEP. It is clear further studies & further conversation needs to occur to determine whether PrEP medications truly impact the results when testing blood for HIV prior to a blood transfusion. In the meantime, this updated language will allow women-who-have-sex-with-MSM to donate blood without additional restrictions, as well as men who only have monogamous sex with their spouse. The refocus on sexual behavior instead of sexual orientation is an important step forward. In the midst of recent blood shortages, we hope this change in policy will help to increase the blood supply & save lives.
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