Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, FDA Shortening Restrictions on Gay Men Who Want to Donate Blood

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WASHINGTON (KVUE) — With the coronavirus pandemic causing unprecedented challenges to the blood supply, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would be relaxing some rules that restrict blood donations from gay and bisexual men and other groups. 

The FDA said Thursday that men who have sex with another man, commonly referred to as MSM, now only need to wait three months from their last sexual encounter in order to donate. Previously, they were subject to a 12-month deferral period. 

The same three-month deferral will now be in place for female donors who have had sex with a man who had sex with another man. 

Additionally, the agency has reduced the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months for anyone who got a recent tattoo or piercing. The agency also reduced the deferral period for those who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas.

The new rules take effect immediately and the FDA said it expects the recommendations will remain in place even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

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