More gay and bisexual men will be able to donate blood after the American Red Cross announced Monday that they would follow recent guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA issued guidance in May stating that all potential blood donors must answer a series of individual, risk-based questions to determine eligibility.
Men who have monogamous sex with other men will be able to donate blood.
According to the Red Cross, people regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who have multiple sex partners and have had anal sex in the past three months will be asked to wait three months to donate blood. since the last time they had anal sex.
“The Red Cross is committed to achieving a comprehensive blood donation process that treats all potential blood donors equally and with respect, while ensuring a safe, adequate blood supply to patients in need. demand,” the organization said in a statement. “This historic shift in blood donor eligibility approach is a significant advance, leading to a more comprehensive blood donation process than ever before. The Red Cross celebrates the FDA’s release of the blood donation process.” eliminate blood donation policies based on sexual orientation.”
The FDA originally banned donations from gay and bisexual men during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. In recent years, the FDA has relaxed these rules, but has not lifted them entirely.
The new blood donation risk assessment will now be the same for every blood donor regardless of how they are identified.
LGBTQ health groups and organizations have criticized the FDA’s previous rule from 2015, which relaxed a complete ban on donations from gay and bisexual men, but required men. Abstain from sex for at least a year before donating.
The policy was changed from one year to three months in April 2020, when the FDA noticed a drastic drop in blood donations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of blood donations were cancelled. according to the American Medical Association (AMA).
“With the nation’s blood supply at its lowest level in a decade and the American Red Cross declaring its first national blood crisis earlier this month, it’s time for the Food and Drug Administration to must do something the AMA and others have urged: remove the discriminatory ban that prevents many gay and bisexual people from becoming blood donors,” The AMA said in January 2022.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 11 million blood donors and more than 14 million units of blood transfused annually in the United States.
The HIV epidemic has spread beyond gay and bisexual men, with women accounting for about 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses in the US, according to the Commission’s report. most recent CDC data available.
The FDA said the most recent policy would expand the number of people who can donate blood while “maintaining appropriate safeguards” to protect the blood supply.
The agency added that the policy is based on the best available scientific evidence and is currently similar to policies in Canada and the UK.
“As a physician, I am relieved that this will likely lead to an increase in the supply and availability of a vital resource needed for life-saving and life-sustaining treatment,” said Dr. Sutton, emergency medicine physician and ABC News contributor, said in May when the FDA published the revised guidelines.
ABC News’ Sony Salzman contributed to this report.