BLOOD DONORS AND BLOOD COLLECTION
If the permanent deferral were lifted would men who have sex with men want to donate blood, and if so, who would be eligible?
Article first published online: 26 FEB 2013
© 2013 American Association of Blood Banks
Volume 53, Issue 11, pages 2729–2733, November 2013
How to Cite
Belanger, G. A., McFarland, W., Raymond, H. F. and Custer, B. (2013), If the permanent deferral were lifted would men who have sex with men want to donate blood, and if so, who would be eligible?. Transfusion, 53: 2729–2733. doi: 10.1111/trf.12124
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 26 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 12 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 17 NOV 2012
The deferral of men who have sex with men (MSM) from blood donation is controversial worldwide, with national policies varying from no explicit deferral to permanent deferral. This study assesses whether MSM have donated and would be interested in donating if the US exclusion policy were removed and who would be eligible to donate if the policy were modified to a temporary or lower-risk deferral criterion.
Study Design and Methods
Questions about previous blood donation and interest in future donation were added to the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance survey questionnaire, which periodically gathers risk behavior information from MSM in San Francisco.
Overall, 77.3% of 475 MSM respondents expressed interest in donating. By lower-risk criteria, 10.1% had no sexual contact in the past 6 months (2.3% in the past 12 months) and 1.9% had only lower-risk sexual contact in the past 6 months (1.5% in the past 12 months). Of the 23.4% who answered yes to having donated in the past, at least 25.2% did not comply with the current deferral of no male–male sex since 1977.
The majority of MSM are interested in donating blood. Depending on how the policy would be changed (i.e., either a temporary or a behavior-based deferral criterion), substantial numbers of MSM would be eligible.