Attitudes and perceptions among men having sex with men towards a new non-deferral blood donation policy in Israel

Itzchak Levy, Liraz Olmer, Yuval Livnat, Ran Shalhavi, Ohad Hizki, Eilat Shinar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In June 2017, Israel lifted the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM) and accepts donations if 12 months have passed since the last sexual contact. Recently, the National Blood Services suggested a novel approach that involves acceptance of MSM blood donations without deferral, keeping solely the frozen plasma in quarantine and releasing it for transfusion if a subsequent donation, at least 4 months later, is found negative for transfusion-transmitted agents. In this study, we examined the attitudes and perceptions of MSM to the new Frozen Plasma Quarantine Policy (FPQP). Method: A survey was published on gay-oriented websites, collecting anonymous demographic data, history of blood donations and attitudes towards the new policy. Results: We analysed responses from 1233 MSM. Of these, 13·4% had donated blood at least once during the previous year, almost all of them (89·7%) not complying with the current 12-month deferral. Most respondents (64·5%) supported the suggested new approach and would consider donating blood if it were introduced. Of MSM who had donated blood in the previous year, 85% stated they would agree to reveal their sexual practice in the donor health questionnaire (DHQ) in order to be included in the programme, compared with 8·5% under the current 12-month deferral policy. Conclusion: The suggested Plasma Quarantine Policy may be more acceptable to MSM than a 12-month deferral and increase their compliance with the blood services policy. This and retesting of donors may increase blood safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalVox Sanguinis
Volume114
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • blood safety
  • epidemiology
  • MSM
  • transfusion–transmissible infections

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