why cant gay males donate blood

by Triston Kunde 6 min read

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration said it would be easing restrictions on blood donations by gay and bisexual men. During the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, lawmakers placed a ban on such donations, alleging that their sexuality made them more likely carriers of the disease.

Full Answer

Can bisexual men donate blood?

Nov 01, 2019 · One of the most controversial restrictions is that men who have sex with men (MSM) cannot donate blood unless they have abstained from all sex for at least three months. Blanket ban A lifetime blanket ban on blood donation for any man who had ever had sex with a man was introduced following a rise in HIV and hepatitis B cases in the 1970s and 1980s.

Are gay men at increased risk of Transfusion transmissible diseases?

That's because gay men, the FDA argues, are at "increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections" like AIDS and hepatitis B. And that argument isn't necessarily without merit: Gay men...

Do you have to be a male or female to donate blood?

Mar 29, 2021 · Right now in the U.S., gay and bisexual men (often referred to as MSM, or “men who have sex with men”) are not allowed to give blood if they’ve had sex with another man in the past three months....

How long after sex can you donate blood (and why)?

Dec 24, 2016 · It sounds like a cruel joke, but it’s true—with all we know about HIV, blood, science and medicine, gay men still can’t donate blood … for no good reason at all. The donation ban dates back to 1983, when we didn’t even know what HIV was, and it’s estimated that lifting it would increase the country’s blood supply by over half a million pints.


What is NAT test?

That changed in 1999 thanks to a faster and far more accurate process called Nucleic Acid Testing -- NAT, for short. Unlike the EIA test, the NAT can detect the amount of actual virus in the bloodstream, not just the antibodies produced to fight it.

When did HIV test come out?

They are the crux of every argument for overturning the ban on gay donors worldwide. When the first HIV tests arrived in 1985, they were relatively rudimentary, designed to detect high levels of antibodies in the blood -- which was only effective if HIV had evolved beyond its "window period.".

What Science Says

The science definitely does not support the ban. These days, all blood is tested, and HIV can be detected within about nine days of infection. The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees blood donation, recently started allowing gay men to donate blood, but only if they’ve been celibate for the last year.

A Better Way

So, what would be better? Instead of just refusing blood from all gay men, the United States could do what some other countries do: Ask each individual donor about behavior and risk factors. An individualized assessment is highly effective in Italy, for example.