ORLANDO, Fla. — The United States Food and Drug Administration issued proposed guidance last week that would ease restrictions on blood donations from gay men.
Gay and bisexual men were once completely prohibited from donating blood back in the early days of the aids epidemic in the 1980’s.
What You Need To Know
- The Food and Drug Administration issued has issued guidance that would ease restrictions on blood donations from gay men
- The changes would eliminate time-based restrictions on men who have sex with men and female partners
- As part of the screening process, a potential donors’ eligibility would be based on a series of questions that assess their HIV risk, regardless of gender
- Those taking HIV medications would not be eligible to donate blood
Over time, the FDA relaxed the lifetime ban but still kept some limits in place. Now those limits could be removed for good.
Orlando is one of eight communities to participate in the 1,600-person study for the FDA.
Pulse Nightclub survivor and study participant Brandon Wolf said he signed up to give back to the community.
"As one who survived the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, as someone who watched the community so desperately want to give back in that way, it was important to me," he said. "To be a part of necessary change."
OneBlood Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Susan Forbes said donated blood is tested thoroughly before it can be used in a patient.
“Every donation every time is going to our state-of-the-art testing facility in St. Petersburg, Fla., and it’s going to be tested," she said. "And donations that pass testing will move on to help patients. And donations that don’t pass testing will be discarded."
Wolf said he thinks it's important to change the policy restricting donations from gay or bisexual men.
"You know, FDA policy really has been stuck in the past for a long time," he said.
Experts say only 3% of the U.S. population donates blood. The FDA's proposed changes will be open for public comment for 60 days.
The FDA is expected to make a final decision on the guidance later this year.