Welcome to the September edition of Vital Connections. I’m Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, and I am pleased to share an update about an important advancement in donor eligibility assessment with you.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its individual donor assessment final guidance, which evaluates blood donor eligibility independent of gender or sexual orientation, while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.
Vitalant contributed important scientific data to the FDA’s evaluation and final guidance and implemented these changes on Aug 21, 2023. We are hopeful this will allow more individuals to give blood, help save lives and address the frequent shortages blood centers in the U.S. face every year.
What You Need to Know
The FDA’s previous Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) guidance, which required gay and bisexual men to wait three months following their last sexual contact with another man, has been eliminated. Instead, all potential donors are now screened using a series of questions that impartially assess individual risk of HIV. This modernizing of the blood donor history questionnaire – backed by science and data – not only maintains the exceptional safety of the blood supply but allows you to welcome more donors at your blood drives.
More information about the individual donor assessment, addressing frequently asked questions, can be found at vitalant.org/eligibilityupdate.
Thank you for being a committed blood drive coordinator. Because of you, life doesn’t stop.
Ralph R. Vassallo, M.D., FACP
Executive Vice President, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer