Should Men who have sex with Men be allowed to donate blood in Israel

Gary Michael Ginsberg*, Eilat Shinar, Eran Kopel, Daniel Chemtob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The present permanent deferral policy in Israel for MSM was established in 1977 and was based on the previous (now outdated) USA Food and Drug Administration standards. This study analyses epidemiological data regarding blood donations among MSM, in order to estimate the risk for HIV transfusion transmitted infection (TTI) if the policy is changed to allow at-risk MSM to donate blood. Methods: An Excel based spreadsheet model integrated demographic, epidemiological data from the HIV National Register, laboratory, blood donation and testing data in order to calculate TTI due to false-negatives in known HIV+ donors, windows period donations, asymptomatic carriers and laboratory misclassification errors. A sensitivity analysis of our estimated TTIs for deferral periods for MSM was performed based on a literature review regarding this overall policy issue worldwide. Results: MSM in Israel have a considerably higher relative risk (RR) of both prevalence (115) and incidence (143) of being HIV+ than persons without a risk factor. Allowing MSM to donate blood, without any deferral period, will add an additional five HIV TTI cases over the next decade. Imposition of a 1 or 5 years deferral of abstinence will increase the number of HIV TTI cases only by 0.10 and 0.05 cases, respectively. Conclusion: A 1 year deferral period for blood donations from MSM in Israel is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood Donations
  • HIV
  • Men having Sex with Men
  • Transfusion Transmitted Infection


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