Report Finds Lifting U.S. Ban On MSM Blood Donations Would Increase Total Annual Blood Supply By 2%-4%

For Immediate Distribution
September 19, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Brenda Arredondo, barredondo@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-4945

Current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men prohibits such men from ever donating blood

LOS ANGELES – If the current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) were completely lifted, it is estimated that an additional 360,600 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood each year. According to a new study entitled, “UPDATE: Effects of Lifting Blood Donation Bans on Men Who Have Sex with Men,” authored by the Williams Institute’s Ayako Miyashita, Brian Belt HIV Law and Policy Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, lifting the ban would increase the total annual blood supply in the U.S. by 2 to 4 percent.

“The American Red Cross suggests that each blood donation has the potential to be used in life-saving procedures on three individuals. Our estimates suggest that lifting the blood donation ban among MSM could be used to help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people,” said Miyashita.

If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past twelve months were permitted to donate, the report estimates that 185,800 additional men are likely to donate 317,000 additional pints of blood each year. If MSM who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past five years were permitted to donate, it is estimated that 172,000 additional men would make an additional 293,400 blood donations.

The FDA’s blood ban prohibits men who have had sex with men at any time since 1977 from ever donating blood. In recent years, both the United Kingdom and Canada have made changes to their laws shifting from an indefinite deferral of MSM to a twelve-month and five-year deferral, respectively. In Mexico, new regulations have established criteria for blood donation based on risk factors for transmission of blood-borne diseases.

Click here for the full report.