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Blood donation practice of men who have sex with men and perception of accessibility in blood banks following deferral policies flexibilization in Brazil and Portugal: a cross-national study

Grant number: 23/08187-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2023
Effective date (End): November 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Public Health
Principal Investigator:Edson Zangiacomi Martinez
Grantee:Miriane Lucindo Zucoloto
Supervisor: Inês Santos Estevinho Fronteira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal  
Associated to the scholarship:20/02187-4 - Attitude and practice of blood donation by men who have sex with men and the effects of restrictions flexibilization due to the Covid-19 pandemic on transfusion risk, BP.PD


Introduction: The Brazilian regulations until April 2020 regarding blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM) had been in force since 2004 and considered that MSM were classified as temporarily unable for donation for a period of 12 months after the last sexual intercourse considered risky. This restriction was overturned in May 2020, motivated by strong pressures due to the drop in the number of donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the evolution of studies involving new therapies to control the epidemic through blood plasma transfusion. In Portugal, from 2021 sexual orientation is also no longer an exclusion criterion for donation according to the new rules of the Portuguese General Health Directorate - as a results of studies conducted by a working group created to review the rule on blood donation and criteria of inclusion and exclusion of donors for sexual behavior. Objective: After the flexibilization of regulations, no study so far has proposed to evaluate the blood donation practice among MSM either in Brazil or in Portugal, a gap that the present proposal intends to fill. As a second objective, we intend to evaluate the MSM population's perception of accessibility to donation in both countries, considering geographic, economic, cultural and functional aspects. In addition, we intend to compare the findings in the two countries through a cross-national study. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study considering the Brazilian and Portuguese populations of MSM with non-probabilistic sampling obtained through the snowball method / Web-Respondent Driven sampling (Web-RDS). The procedures for conducting the study will take place in five moments: a) development of the online questionnaire in two versions (Portuguese from Brazil and Portuguese from Portugal; b) mapping of partner organizations; c) contact and consolidation of partnerships; d) seed selection; e) data collection. The questionnaires will be applied via internet and administered using the REDCap electronic data capture tool. The online questionnaire will consist of a series of questions divided into sections such as sociodemographic data, blood donation practice questionnaire, accessibility perception questionnaire and questionnaire about discomfort in answering additional questions about sexual behaviors in the screening interview in blood banks. Cramér coefficients or other effect size measures will be used to assess associations between blood donation practice among MSM after the end of deferral policies, perception of blood bank accessibility, and sociodemographic characteristics. Appropriate regression models will be used to assess these associations in relation to potential confounding variables (such as age and education) and to compare the results of both studies (Brazil x Portugal). (AU)

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