Blood, Semen, and Organ Donation
HIV transmission through blood and organ donation was an issue of national concern in the first years of the HIV epidemic in the United States before tests to screen HIV and its antibodies were available. Current screening practices have nearly eliminated the risk of becoming infected with HIV following a transfusion or organ transplant. However, guidelines and legislation that are drawn too broadly or treat equivalent risks differently based on the source—e.g., to exclude men who have had only a single sexual encounter with another man decades ago while allowing blood donations from currently sexually active heterosexual women—not only unnecessarily eliminate needed donors who pose no risk, but effectively characterize, and stigmatize, entire categories of people as inherently toxic on the basis of sexual orientation or past drug use. This issue section collects resources that outline relevant information on policies regarding the donation of blood, semen and organs.
Categories of Exclusions From Blood Donations, American Red Cross
This excerpt from Red Cross guidelines on eligibility for blood donation summarizes some of the FDA's policies on exclusion from donation based on certain diseases or behavior history.
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An Act to Amend Section 1644.5 of the Health and Safety Code, Relating to Public Health, S.B. 443, California Senate
This bill, subsequently passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor on September 11, 2007, allows HIV-positive men to have their sperm washed and used for fertility treatments. The bill allows the washed sperm to be used in artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization under certain guidelines. Since 1989, California has prohibited HIV-positive people from donating sperm, blood, or tissue in an attempt to curb the spread of HIV. The law prevented HIV-positive men from using reproductive technologies that lower the risk of transmitting HIV to their partners. The new law allows couples to use reproductive technology as long as the HIV-positive donor's sperm is processed to minimize the risk of HIV transmission, informed mutual consent is documented, and the couple uses American Society for Reproductive Medicine-approved sperm processing procedures. Click here to download.