The beliefs and willingness of men who have sex with men to comply with a one-year blood donation deferral policy: a cross-sectional study

Walter Liszewski, Christopher Terndrup, Nicole R. Jackson, Sarah Helland, Bridget C. Lavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration ended the lifetime blood donation deferral for men who have sex with men (MSM) and replaced it with a 1-year deferral period. It is currently unknown how many MSM may meet the new deferral policy and how many are willing to comply with it. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: An anonymous survey was shared on MSM-focused social media sites between May and July 2016 and enrolled self-identified American MSM who were at least 18 years old. The survey assessed the willingness of MSM to donate blood, donation history, and knowledge regarding current blood donation needs and testing limitations. RESULTS: A total of 764 men met criteria to be included in the final data set. Only 8.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.9%-10.9%) met the current 12-month deferral criteria, yet 90.6% (95% CI, 88.5%-92.7%) were interested in donating. Among men interested in donating blood, 57.9% (95% CI, 54.3%-61.4%) would consider donating blood without meeting the 12-month deferral criteria. Overall, 26.7% (95% CI, 23.6%-29.8%) admitted to donating blood at least once in the past despite not meeting deferral criteria. CONCLUSIONS: Few MSM met the current deferral criteria, yet many were interested in donating, even without meeting deferral criteria. Possible motivations to donate without meeting deferral criteria may include a perceived shortage of donated blood and infallibility of current blood testing technology to detect human immunodeficiency virus. If the current 1-year deferral is maintained, it is essential that there is outreach to the MSM community to explain and educate why this policy exists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2234-2239
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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