Who Should Be Allowed to Donate Blood?

Stephen Rawlings, MD, PhD, was conducting HIV and SARS-CoV-2 research during the COVID-19 pandemic when a couple, both COVID-19 survivors, wanted to donate convalescent plasma. However, they were unable to donate due to restrictions on blood donations from gay men. The current U.S. blood donation policy includes various criteria and deferral periods, including a 3-month abstinence requirement for gay men. A study called ADVANCE is exploring alternative ways to determine blood donation eligibility for gay and bisexual men based on individual behavior. The study aims to provide a more science-based approach to blood donation policies and potentially increase the number of eligible donors.

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