USA: blood ban rolled back

USA

The USA’s Food & Drug Administration, which sets policy on blood donation, confirmed yesterday it will be amending the ban on bisexual and gay men donating blood that has stood for 32 years.

As in Britain it will mean not a complete revocation of the lifetime ban that was introduced in 1983, but a reduction to a twelve month bar. Men who have not had sex with another man in the past year will now be eligible to donate blood.

This will probably impact more bisexual men than gay men.

The change also affects female partners of (behaviourally) bi men, who are subject to a 12 month ban – peculiarly as this is 12 months after having sex with a man who had sex with another man in the previous 12 months, this means women can be debarred for two years rather than one.

While a similar 12 month rule is now in place in Britain, Northern Ireland continues to completely bar blood donations from bi and gay men.