Explaining the MSM Deferral
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for determining donor eligibility requirements. Blood Bank of Hawaii strictly adheres to FDA regulations. The FDA requires all blood centers to question donors about activities that are associated with an increased risk of exposure to infectious agents. Men who have had sex with a man are eligible to donate blood three months after last sexual contact. Women who have had sex with a man who has had sex with a man are not eligible to donate blood for three months.
In light of current donor testing technology, Blood Bank of Hawaii agrees with the medical and blood banking community and supports the change in deferral for men who have had sex with men from one year to three months after last sexual contact. This is more consistent with deferrals for similar HIV risk factors. Blood Bank of Hawaii would like to see these changes become permanent and, perhaps more importantly, to transition from a time-based donation deferral to an individual risk assessment. Moving forward with an individual risk assessment-based deferral program, backed by scientific testing to ensure blood supply safety, will further efforts to increase the blood donor pool in our state and across the country.
Safety for our donors and patients is our top priority and we will continue to follow FDA guidelines and strive for 100% safe blood, every day. If you have questions about eligibility, please call Blood Bank of Hawaii at (808) 848-4745.