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Blood supply and donation question (gay vs straight)
Mar 2, 2001

Is the Window Period the same for a gay man as opposed to a straight man? (6 months). Then why does it matter for the blood supply, (men sex with men). If a gay man passes the 6 month window period is it the same as a straight man? I am a little confused about this topic and wish you could clarify it.

Response from Dr. Dezube

The bottom line is that the blood bank organizations and the FDA have strong mandates to make the blood supply as safe as possible. This is in everyone's interest. In order to do this, "high risk" donors are deferred. Such deferrals apply not only to gay men, but also to people who have been in the United Kingdom (UK) for a period of 6 months or more, and to many other groups. This may not necessarily seem fair to you, but you need to understand that not every blood disease is diagnosed 100% of the time by blood tests. So gay men are deferred since the likelihood that they will harbor the HIV virus is higher than straight men; people who have been in the UK for 6 months are deferred since the likelihood they will harbor mad cow disease is higher than Americans who have not lived abroad. Hope this answers your question. BD.


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