Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Health
154. To ask the Minister for Health the status of the latest meeting of the post-implementation surveillance monitoring group regarding the donation of blood from men who have sex with men; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53485/21]
The Blood Donation Deferral Surveillance Group was established to assess the impact, if any, on the incidence of transfusion transmitted infections, following the change to MSM and STI donor deferral policies in 2017.
The Group includes representatives from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Public Health England and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
The Group met in September 2021. The Group considered trends in notifications of HIV & STI in Ireland from 2015-2019, the findings of a 12-year review (2008-2020) by the IBTS of blood donors with confirmed HIV and syphilis infections, and the UK experience of changes in deferral policy.
The Group agreed that there was no evidence of an adverse impact arising from the 2017 change in deferral policies, including the change in MSM deferral policy from a lifetime ban to a 12 month deferral (from last sexual encounter with a man).
The work of the Group will contribute to the evidence base that can inform future decisions in relation to blood donor deferral policies.