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  • HIVMA Supports End to Lifetime Blood Donation Ban for Gay Men; Urges Further Reforms

    12/23/2014

    Statement from the HIVMA Chair Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH:

    The HIV Medicine Association supports the important step forward the FDA has taken today by ending its lifetime ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men. It is, however, a first step, and we are concerned that the new policy retains an unnecessary and unique exclusion of men who have sex with men from donating blood for one year. Requiring a one-year abstinence period for men who have sex with men, regardless of risk behavior is not grounded in science regarding transmission risks or supported by current diagnostics for detecting HIV infection and other blood-borne pathogens. HIVMA strongly supports blood donor criteria that ensure a safe blood supply. We recommend that blood donor screening procedures be revised to ask all potential donors to exclude themselves if within the previous six months they have tested positive for HIV, engaged in unprotected sex with a partner with HIV or unknown HIV status, or used a syringe not prescribed by a physician. The six-month deferral period is supported by a 2012 Australian Red Cross commissioned review. We urge that deferral criteria focus on risk behavior rather than sexual orientation and support recommendations for additional studies to develop blood donation deferral criteria that will protect the blood supply while reducing discriminatory exclusion of HIV-negative individuals. 

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    HIVMA represents more than 5,000 medical providers and researchers working on the front lines of the HIV epidemic across the United States. The Association’s mission is to promote access to quality HIV care and to advocate policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice.

     

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