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New policy adopted by the American Red Cross permits blood donations from gay and bisexual males



Little Rock, Arkansas – On August 7, the American Red Cross adopted a new FDA regulation allowing homosexual and bisexual men to donate blood.

There has been a long-standing FDA policy, according to Sarah Warbelow, vice president of legal at the Human Rights Campaign, to not accept donations from this specific group since it is based on a stereotype.

“it is really important that we have a policy for blood donation that is rooted in science, that it preserves the safety of the blood supply, and doesn’t discriminate based on who somebody is,” said Warbelow.

Blood donation organizations do this by giving everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, a personal questionnaire.

If they are qualified to donate blood, the questionnaire will reveal that.

“The likelihood that they have been exposed to HIV or to another pathogen that would be unsafe for the blood supply,” said Warbelow. “Based upon your answers to that question, a determination is made about whether or not you are eligible to donate blood.”

This includes if you have taken an HIV prevention medicine, according to Warbelow.

According to The American Red Cross’ John Brimley, Regional Communications Coordinator, they have adopted the most recent regulation.

“All of our questions will be geared toward everybody and just have an opportunity to make our blood supply safer and to give everybody the opportunity to give blood if they are willing and eligible,” said Brimley.

According to Brimley, using an HIV preventative medicine does not preclude you from donating blood, but you must wait three months after finishing the treatment to be eligible.

According to Warbelow, not only will this make blood donation safer, but it may also help with the national blood shortage.

“Particularly when there are instances of natural disasters, things like COVID-19, which increases the need for blood supply,” said Warbelow. “We want to make sure we are increasing the pool of donors who are eligible rather than unnecessarily limiting it.”

Warbelow advised checking with your local blood donation facility before going to give blood because not all blood donation organizations have accepted this new policy.


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