During the issue of its updated blood donor deferral recommendations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn the ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM). However, a deferral period (period since the last sexual contact with another man) of 12 months has been recommended. These suggestions are in line with the deferral period suggested for other men and women, who have higher risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
The recommendations have been made in line with the most recent scientific evidence. It is FDA’s responsibility to ensure supply of secure blood through reduction in danger from HIV transmission via blood and blood products. “The FDA’s responsibility is to maintain a high level of blood product safety for people whose lives depend on it. We have taken great care to ensure this policy revision is backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply,” said the agency’s Acting Commissioner, Stephen Ostroff, M.D.
The examination of modification in policies, associated with the transfer of HIV from blood products, has been made in light of the current scientific facts. The agency will keep re-examining its blood donor deferral policies with the emergence of new scientific data.
The agency has been using various tools to curb the HIV transmission rates, from 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 1.47 million, through blood transfusion. The various tools include updated scientific evidences, donor education materials, particular deferral questions and new technologies in testing the donor for HIV.