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New FDA recommendations to ease blood donation rules for gay men

Staff writer |
The Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life.

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Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood forever. The new policy would ban blood donation for men who have had sex with another man for the past year.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a science-based regulatory agency that works to protect and promote the public health. In this role, it is our responsibility to regulate the blood supply and to help ensure its continued safety for the patients who receive these life-saving products.

"Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data.

"Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.


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