A brand new change has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) which makes it easier for queer men to donate plasma. This has been a long-time coming, and it’s incredibly significant to the queer men of this country, so let’s get into it.
Back in March, we wrote an article detailing that although the celibacy period for donating blood was reduced to three months, queer men who were on the HIV prevention drug PrEP were still unfortunately required to wait an entire year without the drug before they could donate blood.
It was a specification that lacked proper information on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood website, and caught quite a few individuals looking to donate blood by surprise. However, the website has since been updated.
At the time, Lifeblood told us that they were working hard behind the scenes to get things changed, and were pending updates from the TGA after they sent in a submission to lessen the waiting period for queer men on PrEP from twelve months to three.
Well, now the TGA has approved the submission, and queer men can donate plasma (but not blood) after three months without PrEP instead of twelve, which is definitely a step in the right direction.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved our submission to reduce the donation postponement for donating plasma for people taking PrEP from 12 months to 3 months since their last dose,” a spokesperson for Lifeblood told PTV.
“This requires a number of changes to our systems and processes and we are currently working towards introducing the change in October, meaning donors taking PrEP will need to wait three months since their last dose before donating.
“We will continue to investigate other pathways that may allow more people to donate. As new data and evidence is collected, it becomes part of a body of research used to inform recommendations and decisions about donation criteria.”
Daniel Cottier, a 28-year-old director and producer from NSW who remained celibate for three whole months in hopes to donate blood, only to be turned away due to being on PrEP, tells PTV that these new updates give him a sense of “quiet optimism”.
“It will allow thousands of more donations per year from people who want to help, but have previously been unable to because of outdated and discriminatory policies,” Cottier said.
“There’s still a way to go, but this is a very positive step in the right direction.”