U.S. regulators eased restrictions that severely limit blood donations by men who have sex with men as supplies run short amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Food and Drug Administration released revised guidelines Thursday that would allow gay men to donate blood after refraining from sexual contact for three months instead of a year. The FDA said experience in other countries such as the U.K. with a three-month deferral and improved testing led the agency to make the change.
Lawmakers have pushed FDA to allow gay men to donate blood in recent weeks in light of Covid-19’s strain on the blood supply.
The revised guidelines also allow those who recently got tattoos or piercings to donate blood after waiting three months instead of a year, and allow former sex workers and injection drug users to donate after a three month deferral as well. Former sex workers and injection drug users weren’t previously allowed to donate blood.
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