Research evaluates restriction for homosexuals to donate blood

Publicação: 11 de May de 2015

One of the authors, however, says the lack of scientific evidence does not implicate the exclusion of the idea that there are risks

Out of 14 analyzed studies, 11 were unable to demonstrate significant effects because the result’s precision was damaged by the small number of donors within the profile

Out of 14 analyzed studies, 11 were unable to demonstrate significant effects because the result’s precision was damaged by the small number of donors within the profile

A research conducted by the Belgium Red Cross contests the restriction for men who have sex with men to donate blood – a rule in at least 50 countries. The institution’s Evidence-based Practice Center conducted a kind of literature revision on the matter and concluded that, despite the existence of a connection between homosexual blood donors and HIV infection, the application of a prohibition policy is premature.

The authors collected all available evidence from studies that could answer the following question: “Are men who have sex with other men and are blood donors a risk of transmissible infections through blood transfusion in western countries?”

From the 18,987 articles downloaded from five different scientific databases, only 14 went to further analysis. The other were excluded for two reasons: either they were unable to answer the research’s question or contained opinion articles, instead of scientific evidence. The 14 articles selected by the Red Cross team are observational studies, which means the researches observed the participants without including them in a treatment or control group (as would be expected in an experimental study).

The researches analyzed the incidence of transmissible infections through blood transfusion from men who have sex with men and donors who do not have sex with men, besides this, the studies also compared the risk profiles between infected and non-infected blood donors.

From the 14 analyzed studies, 11 were unable to demonstrate significant effects because the result’s precision was damaged by the low number of donors within the profile “men who have sex with men”.

The only available evidence in the three remaining researches only foresees a connection between blood donors in the surveyed profile and infection by the HIV.

One of these three researches suggests that men who have sex with men are prohibited to donate blood for at least one year. On the other hand, the two other studies show that the blood from donors in the research’s profile is as safe as the blood from donors who do not have any sexual relation with other men. Therefore, generally, no convincing evidence was found to support the restriction.

However, one of the research’s authors, Dr. Philippe Vandekerckhove ponders that the lack of evidence in the team’s research does implicate the exclusion of the idea that blood donations from men who have sex with other men represents a disease transmission risk. “We only indicate that the high quality research does not document the risk”, he said.

Discussion in Europe

The EU Justice Court issued a sentence that allows to prohibit homosexuals from donating blood. With this decision, the Office allows a EU-member State to permanently prohibit the donation from men who had sex with other men due to the “high risk” of contracting infectious diseases.

The court, however, left to the French justice – who took the matter to the European instances – to decide if the laws of that country are proportional to the risk and if the available scientific evidence is enough to support the measure.…