Actions and Attitudes of Men who Have Sex With Men Under Past, Current, and Hypothetical Future Blood Donation Deferral Policies

Christopher N. Johns, Grant Simonson, Benny Mart Hiwatig, Michael W. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Eligibility criteria for blood product donation are important for the safety of the blood supply, though many have called into question criteria that limit donations for men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). Recently, in the U.S.A., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), decreased the ‘deferral’ period, the period in which one must abstain from sex, for MSM, from twelve months to three. This study examined the proportion of MSM respondents that donated blood under past and current deferral policies, as well as the proportion that would consider donating under hypothetical shorter deferral policies. To achieve this, an electronic survey was disseminated on social media platforms via virtual flier calling for participation from a self-selected convenience sample of the MSM community. Compared to either the 12-month or 3-month deferral policies, intent to donate blood was significantly higher in both alternative two week or no deferral policy scenarios. The majority of respondents who did donate did so without following deferral guidelines under both the 12-month and 3-month policies. There was no significant change in the proportion of those who donated against guidelines between the twelve- and three-month deferrals. While social media is an effective tool for survey work it poses significant risk for selection bias. Further studies with diverse sampling are necessary to better elucidate blood production donation trends within the MSM community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalTransfusion Medicine Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank all individuals who voluntarily engaged with and aided in the electronic distribution of the survey, with particular thanks to the Pride in Healthcare of University of MN Medical School, and Medical Student Pride Alliance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Blood
  • Blood donations
  • Health justice
  • Health policy
  • Men who have sex with men
  • MSM
  • Transfusion medicine
  • Transfusion policy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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