Terms of Reference

The Review Committee

A Review Committee was created with a group of experts and a chair. The committee comprised suitably qualified experts selected by the chair.

What the Committee did

  1. Reviewed relevant local and international developments since the conclusion of the 2012 review in relation to deferring donors on the basis of current and/or past sexual activity.
  2. Considering above in the context of ensuring the ongoing safety of blood and blood products provided in Australia, re-evaluated the recommendations of the 2012 review.

Areas of Emphasis

Particular emphasis was placed on:

  • Whether the 2012 review’s recommended deferral period of 6 months for men who have sex with men (MSM) remains appropriate, or whether a different minimum period of deferral is justified based on current evidence.
  • Whether it is possible to consistently identify a set of criteria by which individuals might be identified as at greater risk of acquiring blood borne infections than that of the wider population.
  • Whether plasma for fractionation (which is subject to targeted pathogen inactivation during processing) provides an opportunity to expand donation by MSM without affecting recipient safety.
  • Whether the level of protection afforded by regular condom use and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) alone or in combination is sufficient to avoid exclusion. If not, whether the risk is changed such that the deferral period could be adjusted.
  • Considering developments since the 2012 review, the appropriateness of excluding current and former sex workers and the appropriate period of any deferral.

What the Committee addressed:

In developing its recommendations the Review Committee considered:

  • Compliance with Australian legislation (Commonwealth, State and Territory), especially anti-discrimination.
  • The obligation of Lifeblood to ensure that the blood and blood products provided to patients are as safe as reasonably achievable.
  • Regulations which oblige Lifeblood to conform to mandatory and non mandatory recognised international standards.
  • Ethical issues affecting both potential donors and recipients of blood and blood products.
  • The practicalities of implementing any recommendations in the ongoing operations of Lifeblood.

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