Until he came out as gay in 2010, UNC alumnus Lee Storrow was able to donate 75 units of platelets over multiple years.
He became ineligible due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's policy at the time that restricted gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
“For me, someone who was eligible for several years, donated 75 units of platelets, to be unable to donate for a decade — that’s a significant number of blood donations and platelet donations that I could’ve made for a number of years,” he said.
The FDA currently restricts blood donations from men who have had sex with other men within the last three months.
But because of a new approach, Storrow could soon regain his eligibility.
On Jan. 27, the FDA announced a proposal to change its current blood donor eligibility policy and eliminate time-based deferrals that seek to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV.
Under the proposal, the donor history questionnaire will be revised to ask questions that are gender-inclusive and based on individual risk, regardless of identity.
Any prospective donor who reports having new or multiple sexual partners and anal sex within the past three months will be deferred from donation, according to the FDA's proposal.
This guidance still requires permanent deferral for those who have ever tested positive for HIV or taken medication to treat HIV infection. Individuals orally taking PrEP or PEP to prevent HIV infection will be deferred for three months from their most recent dose, while those taking injectable PrEP will be deferred two years from their most recent injection.