FDA loosens blood donation rules for gay, bisexual men

The FDA has ended a ban prohibiting gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships from donating blood.  

The agency outlined its loosened blood donation eligibility rules in a final guidance published May 11. 

Under the new policy, blood banks will ask all prospective donors — regardless of their gender or sexual orientation — the same set of questions about behaviors that pose a higher risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. FDA guidelines previously recommended time-based deferrals, which required men to abstain from sex with other men for three months before donating blood. 

Blood banks, the American Medical Association and LGBT rights groups have long advocated for loosening blood donor rules, which they said were outdated and homophobic, according to The Washington Post. The FDA first restricted blood donations among gay and bisexual men in the 1980s amid the AIDS epidemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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