FDA relaxes guidelines on giving blood for gay, bisexual men and after receiving tattoos

Local News

Another impact on the blood supply coming out of the coronavirus pandemic is who can donate.

The FDA announced this week it’s changing the guidance. It recommends modifying the pre-screening questionnaire at blood centers because of the shortage.

The change opens up more opportunities for gay and bisexual men to give blood based on their sexual activity. They used to have to wait 12 months after sexual activity to donate, but it’s being lowered to three months.

Some say the restriction shouldn’t be in place at all.

“People could be lying on the questionnaire anyway when they’re just going to test the blood to see if it’s appropriate or has the right amount of levels of whatever,” Chase Norris, Executive Director of Clock Inc said. “So if you’re gonna test it anyway, why are you denying an entire community that option to help others?”

“Blood centers don’t establish our own donor eligibility criteria,” Kirby Winn from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center said. “But what we’re looking at is populations that may have increased risk for a virus that can be transmitted to a patient that receives a blood transfusion.”

The deferral period is also shortened to three months for people who get tattoos or body piercings.

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