DHHS Reevaluating Blood Donation Rules
Posted 13 March 2012 | By
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is looking at the possibility of relaxing rules that currently prohibit gay men from donating blood or plasma.
The guidelines have been in place since 1977 as a result of fears over "higher levels of certain transfusion-transmissible infections," but the policy has attracted significant amounts of controversy in recent years as blood safety testing experienced dramatic improvements.
"As a result, questions have been raised about the need to continue an indefinite deferral of all men who have sex with other men (MSM) and whether there could be blood donation by MSM who may not be at increased risk," said DHHS in a Federal Register posting.
An advisory committee convened by DHHS in 2010 called the current policy "suboptimal," but recommended keeping the policy in place until a proven and safe alternative could be formulated.
DHHS is thus seeking "information from interested parties regarding the design, logistics and feasibility of a pilot operational study (or studies) to assess alternative blood donor eligibility criteria for MSM."
DHHS - Request for Information (RFI) on Design of a Pilot Operational Study To Assess Alternative Blood Donor Deferral Criteria for Men Who Have Had Sex With Other Men (MSM)