FDA updates blood donor guidelines, which for the first time in 40 years evaluates eligibility regardless of gender or sexual orientation

11 News this Morning at 6 am
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 9:55 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its individual donor assessment final guidance , which for the first time in four decades evaluates blood donor eligibility regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

According to Vitalant, in 2015, there was a year-long deferral for gay and bisexual men donating blood. That was updated in 2020 to a three-month deferral. Now, there is no deferral for gay and bisexual men as long as they meet eligibility requirements.

Vitalant implemented the changes in mid-August. 11 News spoke with Vitalant in Colorado about the changes, who’s local southern Colorado office is located near Academy and Austin Bluffs.

“This is just amazing. This update welcomes so many new first time donors and we really need those because we’ve had so many blood shortages this year. The more the merrier. This is the first time in 40 years that the FDA has made this guidance update on the questionnaire,” said Brooke Way, Vitalant Communications Manager. “Those questions, they determine an individual’s risk of HIV, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, rather than that blanket deferral for gay and bisexual men.”

Vitalant says Colorado is still in a critical blood shortage, especially in their more difficult summer months where people are not donating as much due to traveling. As we head into the fall season though, blood drives are coming back at high schools and college campuses.

“Blood is needed everyday throughout the year. Not just in times of emergency blood shortages, or traumas, but throughout the years. We want to make sure people are making it a regular routine activity that they can fit into their schedule.”

To donate at Vitalant, click here.