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Improving blood safety and donor selection

48 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Peter Saxton
Professor Patricia Priest
Dr Susan McAllister
Assistant Professor Stephen Ritchie
Dr Janine Paynter
Dr Sarah Morley
Dr Jason Myers
Mr Mark Fisher
Mr Kevin Haunui
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Health Delivery Project
Lay summary
Our medical care relies on a safe, sufficient blood supply. This project, in partnership with the NZ Blood Service (NZBS), seeks to minimise risk to the blood supply while maximising blood donations. To maintain blood safety, NZBS excludes most gay and bisexual men (GBM) due to a risk of unrecognised HIV infection, but this unnecessarily prevents many low-risk GBM from donating. Many GBM view this as unjust, unscientific and out-of-date given new HIV prevention tools. Similarly, NZ’s HIV sector agencies need to understand who is most and least at risk so they can deliver interventions effectively. We will investigate unrecognised HIV and produce the first NZ data on attitudes and compliance with blood safety policy among GBM, the group posing the most risk to the blood supply and the most impacted by the blood donor deferral policy. Findings will inform the 2024 NZBS safety review and help HIV agencies end transmission.