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

Side view close-up of pregnant woman touching her belly....

Britt Johnson

Pregnant women who contract COVID could experience long COVID symptoms study finds

A recent U OF U study found out that 1 in 10 women who contract COVID during pregnancy will experience long covid symptoms.

9 hours ago

air quality in utah takes a hit as smog settles over the city...

Adam Small

Wildfire smoke moving into the Wasatch Front

Air quality in Utah could be unhealthy for sensitive groups in some areas due to wind bringing in wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest.

2 days ago

Health officials in eastern Utah are still investigating after a dozen swimmers got sick at the Ver...

Britt Johnson

Swimming pool at Vernal hotel still closed after acid leak

A dozen swimmers became sick and were hospitalized in Vernal on Saturday, later health officials discovered acid had leaked into the pool.

2 days ago

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach receives a Covid booster vaccine on September 18, 2023.(Chri...

Alexandrea Bonilla

What’s a summer without a COVID spike?

COVID cases are surging once again this summer. The CDC says cases often rise due to the heat of the summer.

2 days ago

(Canva)...

Mariah Maynes

Researchers reveal new findings in neurological origins of creativity

A team of researchers said that a new study shows creativity may be reliant on certain neurological functions.

3 days ago

Utah air quality is going down and it could get worse...

Josuee Sanchez

Utah air quality is deteriorating and could get worse

Utah is lacking of good air quality due to wildfires but it is mostly because of the hot weather.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Blood donor eligibility guidelines updated, says American Red Cross