Consultation on possible changes to NZBS behavioural donor criteria

A review group has been invited by the New Zealand Blood Service to undertake an independent review. The principal task is to review the on-going appropriateness of exclusion of potential donors on the basis of current or past sexual behaviours to ensure the on-going safety of blood and blood products provided in New Zealand.

In forming its final recommendations to the New Zealand Blood Service, the review group will give careful consideration to comments received from the consultation process. In the previous review in 2008, consideration of advice received from consultation played a significant role in the review group’s decision to revise some of the proposed recommendations on which it had consulted.

Particular areas of emphasis, as outlined in the Terms of Reference (Appendix 1) are:

(a)The appropriateness of on-going exclusion on men who have had sex with men (MSM) and in particular:

  • Whether it is possible to define specific sexual activities that should result in exclusion from donation.
  • Whether (in the context of routine blood donation operations) it is possible to consistently identify a set of criteria by which individuals might be identified whose risk of    acquiring blood borne infections is likely to be higher than that of the wider population.
  • The appropriate period (if any) of any exclusion.

(b) Consideration of possible approaches to protect the donated blood supply from the risks associated with HIV acquired through heterosexual activity, with particular emphasis    on risks associated with sexual exposure with people in or from geographic areas of high prevalence.

(c) The appropriateness of continuing to exclude current and former sex workers and the appropriate period of any such exclusion.

(d) Advise on the development of effective communication tools to improve overall compliance with the behavioural donor criteria and to explain the reasons for their on-going use.

Consultation meetings on this draft will be held in Auckland and Wellington. Please contact Peter Saxton, University of Auckland ( if you would like to attend a meeting.

Please send comments by 9 December 2013 to:

Emeritus Professor Charlotte Paul
Chair, Review Group
c/o Department of Preventive and Social Medicine
Dunedin School of Medicine
University of Otago
PO Box 913

Consultation Document for Donor Deferral Criteria Nov 2013 (pdf, 1.8 MB)

Independent expert review of the NZBS behavioural donor criteria

In March 2009, NZBS introduced a new set of behaviour based donor deferral criteria. These criteria were developed in 2008 by an independent expert advisory group commissioned by NZBS.

NZBS initiated the external independent review of the behavioural donor criteria in 2007.

The review group met during 2007 and final recommendations were submitted to NZBS during June 2008. NZBS accepted the recommendations of the report in full. A submission was made to Medsafe and approval to implement the new criteria given in October 2008.

The detailed report is found below.

Behavioural Donor Deferral Criteria Review Final Report April 2008 (pdf, 2.5 MB)

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