FDA Lifts Blood Ban Donation, PrEP Users Still Unable To Donate

photo via pixabay, @annett_klingner

The war on the queer community in this country has been ramping up these past few months. Florida. Texas. Tennessee. Red states waging war on Transgender youth. However, being lost in the news cycle is a hard-earned victory for our community. The FDA has FINALLY ended the gay and bisexual male blood ban that unfairly stigmatized the LGBTQ community. Another reason this celebratory news has not been widely reported could be the ambiguously vague language the FDA has used to make this announcement. The language is confusing and hard to understand without a medical degree.

However, PrEP users and HIV positive individuals are still banned from donating blood. What exactly are the new rules for blood donation? Let’s break them down.


CBS News reported earlier this month that “Twenty-two Attorneys General, including Illinois’ Kwame Raoul, are calling for an end to the FDA’s blood donation policy they say stigmatizes the LGBTQ+ community. The current policy recommends barring gay and bisexual men from donating blood and plasma within three months of their most recent sexual encounter. The Attorneys General supports a proposed policy that would use a risk-based model for all donors.”ย 

The blood ban began in 1983 as the AIDS epidemic ravaged the queer community. Since then, significant advances have been made in the fields of medicine and technology. Activists have long called for the discriminatory ban to end.

Going back to the new guidelines, The Advocate reported on the turning point of this information reporting,


“That is why the proposed changes announced in late January are monumental: deferrals will finally be based on the science of HIV transmission and will be applicable to every blood donor, not just to gay and bisexual men. Essentially anyone who has anal sex with new or multiple partners in the previous three months will be deferred. And though the current science also supports an even shorter deferral and only for those who have had receptive anal sex with a new or multiple partners, those refinements can be made down the line. The change to deferral based on individual risk assessment โ€” and not sexual orientation โ€” is the critical turning point to a fair, inclusive, and non-stigmatizing policy.”


That last line from The Advocate says it all, the change is based NOT on sexual orientation. FINALLY! But as with everything there are caveats. PrEP users are still unable to donate because there is a very high potential for a false negative when the blood donated is tested. There is no wiggle room here, PrEP users are banned from donating blood, as are HIV-positive people.ย 

Even undetectable HIV-positive individuals are unable to donate blood. Undetectable = Untransmittable is true for sexual contact but not for blood donation. Maybe someday HIV-positive individuals will be able to donate blood specifically for other HIV-positive individuals. Maybe.


It has been a long time coming, 35 years in fact, but this is a VICTORY. This is a time for celebration. Thank you to all those who fought hard and long for gay and bisexual men to once again have the ability to donate blood. To save lives. To make a difference. Proud to be a member of the queer community. Today. And always.






(**this post is solely the opinion of this contributing writer and may not reflect the opinion of other writers, staff or owners of Instinct Magazine.)

Sources: CBS News, The Advocate

Leave a Comment