Is the Blood Donation Deferral Policy a Reflection of Anti-LGBTQ Institutional Bias? Community Perceptions Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sarah Gobrial, P. Priscilla Lui
<span title="">2021</span> <i title="Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research</a> </i> &nbsp;
As part of its responsibilities to protect the safety of the American public, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates activities associated with blood donation. One FDA policy concerns the deferral period of blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM), and their sexual partners. The policy risks reinforcing stigma against people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. The 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic created an urgent need
more &raquo; ... for blood products; hence, the FDA shortened the deferral period for MSM and their sexual partners. Yet, the public's support of the deferral policy remained unclear. U.S. community adults (N = 829, Mage = 46.83, 50.3% women, 9.5% lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) individuals) rated their approval of the FDA's deferral policy and attitudes toward blood donations from people across various sexual orientations and gender identities. Approximately 78% of participants reported positive attitudes toward receiving blood from heterosexual donors, whereas 54% reported positive attitudes toward receiving blood from LGBTQ donors. Participants were inclined to believe that the 2020 policy revision was motivated by an increased demand for blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic rather than an intent to reduce discrimination. Relative to LGB participants, heterosexual participants were less willing to receive blood from LGBTQ donors, more likely to endorse the FDA's deferral policy, and less likely to consider this policy to be discriminatory. Grounded in a minority stress framework, understanding public opinion can contextualize the possible negative impact on LGBTQ health and inform future FDA policies.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.24839/2325-7342.jn26.4.374</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:kdnpyawgljcxjkhuswk7e3n74a</a> </span>
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