A study published in the journal Vox Sanguinis suggests that a policy of 12-month donor deferral for men who have sex with men (MSM) would not result in a significantly greater risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection than a policy of lifetime deferral. Using donation and infection surveillance data from England and Wales between 2005 and 2007, researchers estimated that 12-month deferral would result in a 0.5% greater risk than lifetime deferral, reflecting one additional HIV-infected donation every 455 years. The authors also suggest that expected rates of transfusion-transmitted HIV would vary substantially depending on compliance with a deferral policy. In November 2011, following recommendations from the UK Department of Health, 12-month deferral for MSM was implemented in England, Wales, and Scotland. Although the policy was recently reexamined, MSM are currently excluded from donating blood in the United States.
1. Davison KL, Conti S, Brailsford SR. The risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV from blood donations of men who have sex with men, 12 months after last sex with a man: 2005-2007 estimates from England and Wales. Vox Sang 2013
2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Other Men Questions and Answers. Accessed March 18, 2013. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/BloodBloodProducts/QuestionsaboutBlood/ucm108186.htm