On December 21, 2015, the FDA released final guidance establishing a one-year deferral period on blood donation for men who have sex with men (MSM), including gay and bisexual men. GLMA President Jesse Joad, MD, MS, and GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued the following statement:
“As we have stated previously, GLMA believes a one-year deferral period on blood donation for MSM does not reflect the best science on detecting HIV in the blood supply and continues to perpetuate stigma against gay and bisexual men. GLMA supports nothing less than a paradigm shift away from any categorical restriction on MSM donating blood to a blood donation deferral policy based on individual at-risk behaviors regardless of sexual orientation or gender. The policy guidance finalized today falls short of the optimal policy GLMA supports.
“GLMA continues its call for the FDA to commit to a reasonable timeline to develop a blood donation policy that addresses individual behaviors, including specific at-risk sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation or gender, consistent with up-to-date science, and we look forward to discussions with the FDA on how the policy can be further changed and improved.”