January 13, 2022
Men who have sex with men (MSM) will soon be able to donate blood in France and Greece following changes to blood donor eligibility processes in those countries.
France will remove donor screening questions related to sexual orientation on March 16, Minister of Social Affairs and Health Olivier Véran announced on Jan. 12. Instead, France will introduce a revised donor questionnaire that addresses treatment before or after exposure to HIV, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
The decision concludes a years-long evaluation process that included an independent analysis focused on the conditions necessary to evolve the selection criteria and two surveys of French donors and collection staff on issues related to risk perception and acceptability of the questionnaire for selecting blood donation candidates. French MSM were deferred indefinitely from blood donation between 1983 and 2016. Since 2019, MSM have been able to donate blood four months after their last sexual contact with another man.
In Greece, Health Minister Thanos Plevris and his Deputy Minister of Health Mina Gaga signed a ministerial decree (in Greek) on Jan. 10 that removes questions related to sexual orientation from the country’s donor history questionnaire. The revised questionnaire will take effect following publication in the Government Gazette. Prior to the eligibility change, MSM in Greece were deferred indefinitely from blood donation if they had had sexual contact with another man even once since 1977.