The American Red Cross issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s final guidance “Recommendations for Evaluating Donor Eligibility Using Individual Risk-Based Questions to Reduce the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products”:
“The American Red Cross is committed to achieving an inclusive blood donation process that treats all potential donors with equality and respect, and ensures a safe, sufficient blood supply is readily available for patients in need.
The use of an individual donor assessment to determine blood donor eligibility is significant progress and the Red Cross celebrates the FDA’s elimination of blood donation policies that are based on sexual orientation. At the same time, there is more work to be done to make blood donation even more inclusive.
The Red Cross is committed to implementing the FDA’s new final guidance as quickly as possible. The Red Cross is currently working on changes to our regulated processes that will allow those who were previously ineligible to give in the future, in alignment with the new donor criteria. More information on the implementation timeline will be shared in the weeks ahead.
Years of data have demonstrated that this new eligibility screening process ensures a safe blood supply. All patients should feel comfortable and trust that the blood they receive is safe.
The Red Cross has worked for many years to change the deferral policy concerning men who have sex with men (MSM). This work included decades of data collection and assessment on the impact to transfusion safety, ongoing advocacy to eliminate donor questions based on sexual orientation, and our recent role as a leading contributor in the FDA-funded ADVANCE Study. Going forward, the Red Cross remains committed to achieving further progress and will continue to provide data to the FDA in support of that goal.
The Red Cross also recognizes the hurt this policy has caused and that these are just the first steps in repairing relationships with the broader LGBTQ+ community. The Red Cross welcomes everyone who wishes to be part of our humanitarian mission.
FDA guidance on individual donor assessment
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.