Effective today, nonprofit blood services provider Vitalant is welcoming more blood donors willing to help save lives under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated eligibility guidelines. For the first time in decades, blood donor eligibility is evaluated independent of gender or sexual orientation while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.
Under previous FDA guidance, sexually active gay and bisexual men were deferred from giving blood for three months. The updated donor questionnaire now impartially evaluates individual risk of HIV instead of the long-standing blanket guidance. The donor questionnaire is one part of a multilayered safety approach that also includes infectious disease testing of every donation.
Vitalant applauds this modernization of blood donor eligibility criteria. Vitalant served as the lead research organization and coordinator of the ADVANCE Study and participates in the Transfusion Transmissible Infections Monitoring System, both of which the FDA cited in its scientifically backed recommendations. Vitalant will continue to work with industry partners and government agencies to advance evidence-based eligibility policies that allow as many people as possible to give blood while ensuring a safe blood supply for patients.
More blood donors are needed every day, especially as Vitalant experiences an ongoing summer blood shortage with fewer donors replenishing what’s available for patients. Only about 3% of the U.S. population donates, but a patient in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.
All who wish to roll up a sleeve and donate blood are encouraged to review the eligibility updates and make an appointment at vitalant.org, through the Vitalant app or by phone at 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).