HEALTH

Blood donor eligibility guidelines updated, says American Red Cross

Aug 7, 2023, 8:55 AM

Blood flows out of a donor's arm and into a donation bag....

FILE - Blood flows through a tube from a donor. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Red Cross announced that it will implement the Federal Drug Administration’s new blood donor eligibility guidelines. The new guidance now allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood

“A revised blood donor process begins today with the introduction of the Individual Donor Assessment (IDA) screening, a step toward a safe and more inclusive blood supply,” said a press release provided by The American Red Cross. 

Additionally, the American Red Cross has revised its blood donor eligibility questionnaire. It no longer considers sexual orientation, sex, or gender.

Furthermore, gay men are no longer required to abstain from sex for three months prior to donating. The IDA focuses solely on risk factors for HIV such as sexual behavior and recent sexual partners. 

Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada region, Heidi Ruster, said the Individual Donor Assessment is a pivotal shift toward equitable blood donation policies. 

“This is a positive step toward meeting the critical need for a secure, diverse blood supply while emphasizing safety and inclusion for all,” said Ruster. 

Early blood donor 

Chris Van Bibber, a Salt Lake City resident, will be one of the first gay men to donate blood since the implementation of the new policy. 

“This cause is close to my heart, as my mother received a blood transfusion during childbirth,” said Van Bibber. “I’m proud to honor her by giving back to the community.”

The decision to change policy comes during a looming blood shortage, according to the American Red Cross. The organization saw a drop in donations in May and June. This drop has strained the blood supply. 

The American Red Cross said that it has supported changing the policies concerning sexually active gay men. It has long advocated for eliminating donor questions that are based on sexual orientation. The organization was a leading contributor to the FDA-funded study that led to the changes becoming a reality. 

Ruster said blood donation organizations need individuals like Van Bibber who feel strongly about donating blood.

“Being able to contribute after all these years is not just a personal achievement, but a collective step forward for inclusivity and equality,” said Van Bibber. 

Safety and donations

The American Red Cross and its industry partners use many layers of safety precautions to protect the blood supply and their donors. Eligibility screening, and rigorous testing of each donation for HIV, hepatitis B & C, and other agents that can be transmitted through blood, are precautions that are taken. 

“Patients can feel confident and trust that the blood they receive is safe,” Ruster said.

The changes come after decades of data collection and assessments that have improved the safety of blood transfusions. 

Blood banks are currently in need of all types, said the American Red Cross. However, there is a more urgent need for O-negative, O-positive, and B-negative blood types. 

Those interested in donating can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit their website , or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to schedule an appointment. 

Related reading: 

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

1 hour ago

A nurse works in the laboratory room in El Nuevo San Juan Health Center at the Bronx borough in New...

Tammy Kikuchi

Skeptics have doubts about universal health care model for Utah

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, according to a recent presentation at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute.

2 days ago

FILE: Vietnam War veterans gather for a photograph following a ceremony to recognize and honor Viet...

Eric Cabrera

Veterans can soon sign up for the largest-ever expansion of VA health benefits

On March 5, vets who served in a combat zone, beginning with the Vietnam war, can directly enroll in VA healthcare.

3 days ago

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

3 days ago

utah department of health shown, the department is dealing with a medicaid related outage...

Heather Kelly

Medicaid members in Utah affected by nationwide outage

Utah Medicaid asked local pharmacies to provide a free 30-day supply to high-risk patients affected by the outage.

4 days ago

Marijuana grows at Tryke Companies Utah's medical cannabis cultivation facility in Tooele...

Michael Camit

Ironing out Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program

Medical marijuana is one of Utah's most regulated substances, but lawmakers are still trying to iron out the wrinkles in the program.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Blood donor eligibility guidelines updated, says American Red Cross