Local blood donation centers, LGBTQ+ groups respond to FDA rule changes

Blood shortage
Posted at 6:36 PM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-12 19:36:23-04

Blood donations centers and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are celebrating expanded eligibility to donate blood after new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration.

The new recommendations from the FDA are set to allow more gay and bisexual men to donate.

The new policy does not require blood banks to ask donors their sexual orientation. Instead, an individual risk assessment will apply to everyone.

Those ineligible to donate are those with a new sexual partner in the last three months, those with multiple sexual partners in the last three moths, those who have had anal sex in the last three moths, and those who take HIV prevention medication.

This allows some monogamous gay and bisexual men eligible to donate for the first time since the ban was instated in 1983.

Carter BloodCare announced Friday that it will be re-evaluating its procedures to align with the new guidance as soon as it is able to.

"This is an important step, because the need for blood unites us all. Carter BloodCare fully supports science-based donor eligibility screening that is safe and inclusive. The FDA’s finalized guidance makes blood donation available to everyone who is eligible to donate to save lives," a Carter spokesperson said in a statement.

The Red Cross will also begin implementing the new guidance, reassuring that the blood supply will remain safe from HIV infection.

"Years of data have demonstrated that this new eligibility screening process ensures a safe blood supply. All patients should feel comfortable and trust that the blood they receive is safe," the organization said in a statement.

LGBTQ+ groups, like Temple Pride, are also recognizing the change as a step towards progress.

"I think it's a positive step in the right direction to see people as individuals, rather than just their sexuality," Derek Bryant of Temple Pride said.

Local blood banks, like Carter BloodCare, are still in critical need of donors. Carter said O negative blood remains in the most severe shortage.