FDA Partially Ends Ban On Gay Men Blood Donations

Dec 21, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it will now allow gay men to donate blood, but there's a catch.

Donors can not have had sex with another man in the past 12 months.

For the past 30 years, blood banks have been criticized for not allowing men who have sex with other men to donate blood at all. The FDA said the policy helped reduce the risk of passing along HIV.

Pat Michaels is with OneBlood, which operates blood donation centers and buses throughout the state. He said the change is beneficial.

"Any time the FDA changes a policy that allows us to have more donors, it certainly benefits the blood centers and blood banks," Michaels said. 

The FDA statement said its stance changed after studies published in Australia showed the 12-month "deferral" policy there didn't increase HIV transmission risk.

--Daylina Miller is a reporter with WUSF in Tampa. WUSF is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.