Results from a new SERMO poll show that doctors are still unsure on whether men who have sex with men should be required to be abstinent for a year prior to donating blood.
This poll was conducted following the lift of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s policy on a lifetime ban on blood donation for gay and bisexual men. That change was accompanied by a new policy that prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood only if they have had sex within 12 months.
The voluntary poll was administered through email to random members of the SERMO community. Another question was posted on SERMO social networks, asking whether a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with men within 12 months should be replaced completely by in-depth screening for risky sexual behavior and drug use.
Key findings from the poll include:
- 52% of 1,523 doctors think a 12-month abstinence stipulation for men who have sex with men is necessary to ensure the safety of the nation’s blood supply.
- 63% of 1,523 doctors think that people do not truly know if they have engaged in risky sexual behavior.
- 78% of 3,217 doctors think the policy for men who have sex with men should be replaced completely by an in-depth screening for risky sexual behavior and drug use among all people donating blood.
- 44% of 1,523 doctors think gay and bisexual men should be allowed to donate blood after shorter periods of abstinence than the 12 months stipulated in the new FDA policy.
- Of those 674 who think that a shorter period of abstinence is okay, 30% said that no period of abstinence is necessary and 43% said the waiting period should be 6 months.
Dr. James Wilson, member of SERMO and an Ascel Bio infectious disease forecaster, stated that “It is clear that the physician community is still unsure about what steps are needed to ensure the safety of the nation’s blood supply while supporting equal rights.” As the number of men and women engaging in risky sexual behavior increases, Dr. Wilson hopes to increase the focus on that to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
For more information visit Sermo.com.