In the US, the Food and Drug Administration recently expanded its blood donation eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men (MSM).
The FDA said it will now recommend "individual risk-based questions" be asked to every blood donor, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or sex.
Restrictions on blood donation for MSM have been in place since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. But many now view these restrictions as discriminatory, unnecessarily restrictive, and inconsistent with modern, HIV prevention approaches.
The UK and Canada similarly lifted some restrictions on MSM donating blood. But Aotearoa has not followed.
The NZ Blood Service would not be interviewed but did provide a statement to 95bFM.
They said they recognise this is an important issue for many New Zealanders. And as more countries move to a deferral criteria based on individual behaviours it will increase the body of evidence necessary for New Zealand Blood Service to make an informed recommendation to Medsafe about changes to our own donor behaviour deferral criteria.
They said they have been working with the University of Auckland on its Sex and Prevention of Transmission study and hope the results of this study will provide vital evidence-based New Zealand data that will also help inform our future recommendations.
News and Editorial Director Jessica Hopkins spoke to Tony Scriamporn, a PhD student from the school of population health and medicine at the University of Auckland, who is investigating attitudes and behaviours towards blood donation amongst gay and bisexual men. Scriamporn is also a part of the SPOTS study.
She started off the interview by asking Scriamporn what these changes in the US mean for the country's blood supply.