Austria to Introduce Individual Donor Risk Assessment

May 23, 2022

Austria will amend its blood donation ordinance to introduce individual donor risk assessment to determine donor eligibility, Health and Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch announced (in German) on Friday. Austria previously deferred potential donors for 12 months after “high-risk contact,” which excluded most men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender donors from blood donation.

Under the amended ordinance, potential donors with more than three sexual partners within the past three months of their donation will be deferred for three months, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The amended ordinance will take effect this fall; health officials will evaluate the amended ordinance after two years.

Austria is the latest in a growing number of countries, including Canada, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, that have removed donor eligibility questions related to sexual orientation in favor of individualized risk assessment. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration-funded ADVANCE study is evaluating alternatives to the blood donor deferral policy for MSM.