The agency is being conservative because it’s worried about blood banking errors — units of infected blood that slip through the cracks because of human error at blood banks. Banking errors were considered the “most significant risk” of changing the policy in 1997, Dr. Andrew Dayton says in a presentation prepared for the FDA meeting.
Dayton says changing to a five-year celibacy policy will result in more than 62,000 new men donating blood. Less than one unit of HIV-positive blood per year would escape into the blood supply.
A one-year celibacy policy would generate 112,000 new donors and up to three units of HIV-infected blood, Dayton says.
“Most gay men want to do their duty and be able to give blood,” says Duane.
Last year, the Blood Centers of the Pacific in San Francisco collected 100,000 units of blood. Three tested positive for AIDS.
ABC affiliate KGO in San Francisco contributed to this story.