US may loosen rules on blood donation from gay and bisexual men

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency for drugs and food in the United States, announced that it intends to change the rules for blood donation from homosexual and bisexual men.

THE set of guidelines has been published by the agency last Friday (27).

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From the new guidelines, the FDA proposed:

  • All potential blood donors must answer a questionnaire and those who had sexual partners in the previous 3 months will have to wait to donate;
  • Those who report not having new or multiple sexual partners may donate blood, as long as the other criteria are met;
  • People who exchange sex for money or have a history of injecting drug use without a prescription will not be able to donate;
  • Anyone who has tested positive for HIV or is undergoing treatment, even if the virus is undetectable, will not be able to donate;
  • Anyone taking medication to prevent HIV infection, such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) or PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), will have to wait 3 months for the most recent dose;
  • Those taking injectable PrEP to prevent HIV infection will have to wait 2 years from the most recent injection;

Currently, men who have sex with other men must comply with a 3-month sexual abstinence, even those who are in stable relationships and with a single sexual partner.

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The rule is a holdover from the restrictions that hit the LGBTQIA+ community in the 1980s, when the FDA banned gay men from donating blood during the peak of the AIDS epidemic, caused by the HIV virus.

The norm was only changed in 2015, when a period of 1 year without sexual intercourse was stipulated so that men who have sex with men could donate blood. The deadline dropped to 3 months only in 2020.

In Brazil

On May 8, 2020, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) considered unconstitutional, by a majority of votes, the rules of the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) that limited blood donation by men who have sex with other men.

Ministers Alexandre de Moraes, Cármen Lúcia, Dias Toffoli, Edson Fachin, Gilmar Mendes, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luiz Fux and Rosa Weber voted in favor.

Until then, these people had to respect a 12-month sexual abstinence, which made it impossible, according to the LGBTQIA+ community, for the possibility of donating.

The action was filed in 2016 by the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), which considered Anvisa’s rules an “absurd discriminatory treatment”.

At the time, health entities questioned the fact that there were no blood donation restrictions for heterosexual men who had sex without using a condom.

A month after the STF decision, on June 8, 2020, Anvisa revoked the section of the resolution that restricted blood donation by homosexual and bisexual men.

Source: CNN Brasil

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