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Sexual activity deferral review 2017

Keeping Australia’s blood supply safe is a priority for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Ensuring donors meet our eligibility criteria is an important part of this.

2012 Review

In 2011/2012, we set up a review of deferral policies relating to sexual activity of blood donors. The aim of this review was to ensure that the deferral policies and the questions donors are asked are scientifically based, relevant to Australia, and in line with international practice.

Early in 2014, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) notified the Blood Service that they did not support our proposal to reduce all sexual activity-based deferrals from 12 to 6 months, resulting in no change to the current criteria.

We expressed disappointment at the time and committed to carrying out a further review in 5 years, or earlier if there was a significant change to the factors that affect these donors (e.g. a decline in the rate of HIV in Australia or improved HIV testing).

Meanwhile discussions have continued at both a global and local level, and last October the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council called on the Blood Service to bring forward our planned 2018 review.

See the 2012 Review page for information on the review including the committee’s final report, our proposal to the TGA, and the TGA’s response.

2017 Review

The Blood Service has re-established an independent expert Review Committee under the same Chair and with 50% of the original 2012 Review members. The revised committee will be asked to revisit the appropriate length and structure of deferrals for male-to-male sex and other sexual activity-based risks.

They will be asked several specific questions, including whether the current 12-month deferral period for these donors should be reduced to 6 months as per the previous recommendation or a different duration.

Information on the review