Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Department of Health
Question 52 was added to the IBTS Donor Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire on 16 January 2017 when the permanent deferral of men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood was changed from a lifetime ban to a 12 month deferral from the most recent sexual contact with another man.
While the one year deferral of MSM from donating blood protects against the risk of transmission of HIV, issues could arise in relation to an emerging infection. A 5 year deferral of people who have had a notifiable sexually transmitted infection has also been introduced. In line with this, those who have had an STI such as chlamydia or genital herpes are deferred for five years after completion of treatment - persons who have had syphilis, gonorrhoea, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) or granuloma inguinale are already permanently excluded from donating.
Persons who have taken medication to prevent HIV infection, i.e. pre or post exposure prophylaxis (PrEP/PEP), are also deferred for a 5 year period. A study published in the US in 2016 showed a sharp rise in STIs in men on PrEP and associated the use of PrEP with a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with an STI.