Reconsidering the lifetime deferral of blood donation by men who have sex with men

  • Wainberg M
  • Shuldiner T
  • Dahl K
 et al. 
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One undeniable risk of allowing blood donation by men who have sex with men is a false-negative result on HIV testing, i.e., the occurrence of a negative result when the donor is, in fact, infected with HIV. This consideration applies to all prospective donors, including heterosexual people and other individuals, who may have been judged to be risk-free on the basis of an administered questionnaire. Another concern is that gay men who believe they are in stable, long-term monogamous relationships could be deceived by their partners about the latter’s monogamy. Although this concern cannot be discounted, it is just as relevant for both heterosexual donors and men who have sex with men. Innovations in HIV testing, especially the increased availability of rapid testing, will result in more men who have sex with men being tested, learning their HIV status, reducing risky behavior and receiving treatment earlier. This, in turn, would benefit blood safety—should men who have sex with men be allowed to donate—because they would learn about their HIV status and that of their partners through a mechanism outside the blood system. The risk can be measured in terms of the number of people potentially infected by donated blood relative to the total number of people who donate;4 zero risk is, of course, impossible to attain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Mark A. Wainberg

  • Talia Shuldiner

  • Karine Dahl

  • Norbert Gilmore

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