If they were to become eligible, half of LGBTQ+ adults (49.7%), and of gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender loving (GBQ/SGL+) men specifically (54.4%), would be likely, or extremely likely, to donate blood in the next year
Even with proposed FDA changes, over a quarter of all respondents — and over a third of the GBQ/SGL+ men in the sample — would still be ineligible to donate; majority say proposed guidelines are also discriminatory
Nearly 90% believe the federal government needs to prioritize investing in more technologies and research to allow more people to donate blood
WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released new data detailing how LGBTQ+ community members believe ending the blood donation ban should be priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. The data reveal that nearly three-quarters of the LGBTQ+ community find the current blood donation policy, which prevents gay, bisexual, queer, and same-gender loving (GBQ/SGL+) men from donating blood if they had reported sexual conduct with a man in the prior 90 days, unacceptable. Over half (57.9%) of LGBTQ+ respondents agree or strongly agree that the proposed FDA changes to the blood donation policies, which would drop specific deferral guidelines for GBQ/SGL+ men, are a step forward; however, almost three quarters (72.3%) believe the proposed policy is still discriminatory, as a significant number of individuals would still be ineligible to donate. Nearly 90% believe the federal government needs to prioritize investing in more technologies and research to expand eligibility.
Currently, GBQ/ SGL+ men are banned from donating blood if they had reported sexual conduct with a man in the prior 90 days; the same requirement is not in place for other men, or any women, regardless of their sexual partners or behaviors. The proposed guidelines move away from a time-based deferral on donations from GBQ/SGL+ men to an individualized behavior assessment for all prospective donors. Under this new approach, people will be screened on their sexual behavior, rather than their sexual orientation. However, the new guidelines would effectively ban any individual on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) from donating blood. PrEP has been found to be over 99% effective at preventing HIV during sex when taken adequately. Nearly half of respondents reported feeling frustrated that the new guidelines excluded individuals on PrEP, while nearly a third reported feeling frustrated that the new guidelines excluded people based on their number of sexual partners.
As a result, the proposed guidance would still disproportionately exclude LGBTQ+ donors. Over a quarter (28%) of LGTBQ+ respondents, including almost four in ten (37.7%) GBQ/SGL+ men, would be ineligible to donate blood under the proposed guidance. Almost three-quarters (72.3%) of all LGBTQ+ respondents — and over three-quarters of GBQ/SGL+ men (76.5%) — felt the proposed policy was still discriminatory against GBQ/SGL+ men.
Other key findings from the report include:
If they were to become eligible, half of LGBTQ+ adults (49.7%), and of GBQ/SGL+ men specifically (54.4%), would be likely, or extremely likely, to donate blood in the next year.
Six in ten respondents agreed that ending the current blood donation ban would be one of the most significant policy victories for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, and nearly three-quarters said that ending the ban should be a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.
Almost half of respondents reported feeling frustrated that the new guidelines excluded individuals on PrEP.
57.9% of LGBTQ+ respondents agree or strongly agree that the proposed changes to the blood donation policies are step forward. However, 25.9% disagreed.
54.2% of GBQ/SGL+ men agree or strongly agree the proposed changes are a step forward, but they are significantly less likely to feel this way than LGBTQ+ people of other identities/genders (63% agree or strongly agree).
72.3% of all LGBTQ+ respondents — and 76.5% of GBQ/SGL+ men — felt the proposed policy still discriminates against GBQ/SGL+ men.
28.0% of LGBTQ+ respondents, and 37.7% of GBQ/SGL+ men, would remain ineligible to donate blood under the proposed guidance.
Over half of all LGBTQ+ respondents, and over six in ten GBQ/SGL+ men, reported that being turned away under proposed guidance for being on PrEP and/or reporting new or multiple anal sex partners, would make them feel stigmatized or unfairly targeted for being LGBTQ+.
Out of the 2,000 survey respondents, 87.8% believe the federal government needs to “prioritize investing in more technologies and research to allow more people to donate blood.” The technology exists today to prevent transmission of certain pathogens such as HIV in plasma and platelets. The technology to reduce pathogens in red blood cells is currently in Phase III Clinical Trials.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.
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