US FDA Drops Blood Donation Rules For Gay And Bisexual Men, What About Australia?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had officially eliminated restrictions that had previously prohibited many blood donations by gay and bisexual men.

The ban began in 1983 for men who have sex with men due to the AIDS epidemic.  

A media release by the FDA said it would recommend “a set of individual risk-based questions” that will apply to every blood donor.

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In today’s episode of The Briefing, we discover that since the early 80s, scientific advances and more testing have led to the ban on LGBT men and transwomen donating blood being lifted. 

We talk to Darian Aaron from GLAAD, a US LGBTQ advocacy organisation and Thomas Buxereau from Australia’s ‘Let Us Give’ campaign to find out what is happening in Australia and why the ban has not been lifted here.

This blood ban which the FDA updates on these guidelines is definitely a step in the right direction, because now we are at a place where gay and bisexual men are being treated just like every other American citizen who wants to selflessly give of themselves to help save lives,”

Aaron said.

Aaron said there is still a three-month deferral period for people adhering to a PrEP or a PEP prescription. 

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According to the Department of Health, PrEP is a daily medication to prevent HIV infection in people who are HIV-negative and at an ongoing risk of getting HIV.

PEP is a drug given to folks who think they may have been exposed to HIV within the first 48 hours,”

he added.

In Australia, rules apply differently. Buxereau said the only way for a gay man to donate blood in Australia is to have no sexual activity with another man for at least three months.

I think the question is no longer appropriate. Things have evolved so much today that now it’s actually failing to take into account the behaviour of a single individual, and it’s just applying a blanket question,”

he said.  

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