Blood, Tissue, Organ, and Semen Donation

HIV transmission through blood and organ donation was an issue of national concern in the first years of the HIV epidemic before tests to screen HIV and its antibodies were available. Current screening practices have nearly eliminated the risk of becoming infected with HIV following a transfusion or organ transplant. However, guidelines and legislation that are drawn too broadly or treat equivalent risks differently based on the source - e.g., to exclude men who have had only a single sexual encounter with another man decades ago, while allowing blood donations from currently sexually active heterosexual women - not only unnecessarily eliminate needed donors who pose no risk, but effectively characterize and stigmatize entire categories of people as inherently toxic on the basis of sexual history or past drug use.

This HIV Policy Resource Bank category includes resources regarding the donation of blood, tissue, organ, and semen donation.