Howard Brown Health has responded to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s elimination of restrictions that had previously barred many blood donations by gay and bisexual men.
The FDA said it will recommend a series of "individual risk-based questions" that will be the same for every blood donor, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or sex, according to NPR. Those who have had anal sex with a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner, within the last three months would be asked to wait to donate blood.
Howard Brown said in a statement sent to Windy City Times, "The new guidelines are a critical step forward in moving away from the stigmatizing and outdated deferrals that prevented gay and bisexual men from donating based solely on identity. Now, all potential donors will be assessed for HIV risk with the same set of questions regardless of sexual orientation and gender, and deferral criteria specific to men who have sex with men have been removed.
"This is a long-needed update to blood donation policy that will continue to safeguard the U.S. blood supply while expanding the pool of eligible donors and reducing decades-long stigma and discrimination against gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. We will continue to advocate for the FDA to conduct research and explore additional strategies to reduce stigma and improve blood donation policy, particularly for those on PrEP. For members of the community wanting to donate blood, please note that it may take blood donation centers some time to fully implement this new guidance."