New rules makes it easier for sex workers and gay men to donate blood

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

It’s become easier for sex workers and gay men to donate blood.

The New Zealand Blood Service today changed its donor behaviour criteria for those at a greater risk of HIV from twelve months to three months.

Men who have sex with men, people who have previously lived in a country with a high prevalence of HIV infection and sex workers will be able to donate blood after staying celibate for three months.

People who have been using medication to prevent an HIV infection, like PREP, will also have the same stand down period.

Transfusion medicine specialist Peter Flanagan from Blood NZ said there is now a significant body of evidence from donor services around the world that supports this change.

“All current available scientific research shows a three-month deferral allows current state of the art testing systems to safely accommodate the window period between when a virus been contracted and it being detectable,” he said.

The changes to the donor behaviour criteria bring New Zealand in line with other countries including the UK, Canada and the United States.

New Zealand’s medical regulatory body, Medsafe, has approved the change.