Blood banks in Florida prepare to roll out FDA's updated donation policy
Susan Forbes of OneBlood says donation centers are training workers over the next couple of months on the new FDA donation rules for gay and bisexual men.
A revised federal policy does away with a three-month waiting period for blood donations for men who have sex with men (MSM).
Moving forward, all donors will be screened using the same questionnaire that determines a person’s individual risk for HIV regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
Susan Forbes of OneBlood says its donation centers are training workers to roll out the policy in a couple of months throughout Florida.
“So, all donors will now have the same set of questions," said Forbes. "This makes the MSM policy a thing of the past.”
Forbes said it's crucial that everyone who wants can donate blood.
“It makes blood donation more inclusive, it ensures all donors are treated equally and fairly and it enables more people the opportunity to donate blood, and these are all great things," said Forbes.
The Food and Drug Administration's MSM donation policy was put in place in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic.
With the updated guidelines, announced Thursday, most gay and bisexual men who are in a monogamous relationship with a man will no longer have to refrain from sex in order to donate blood.
Previously, FDA guidelines for donating blood — which were last updated in 2020 — stated that men who have sex with men are allowed to donate blood after a three-month deferral period in which they refrain from having sex with another man.
While the number of people eligible to donate blood has expanded, the agency said it will continue to monitor the safety of the blood supply.
To find out more about donating blood, click here.
Information from NPR was used in this report.
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