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”:
“On August 7, the American Red Cross implemented the updated FDA blood donation guidelines which eliminate questions based on sexual orientation. We look forward to welcoming those who may be newly eligible to give through a more inclusive blood donation process.
The 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. This historic change in approach to donor eligibility is significant progress, resulting in a blood donation process that is more inclusive than ever before. The Red Cross celebrates the FDA’s elimination of blood donation policies based on sexual orientation.
For many years, the Red Cross has worked 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 role as a leading contributor in the FDA-funded ADVANCE Study. This work has demonstrated that this new eligibility screening process ensures a safe blood supply, and all patients may continue to trust that the blood they receive is safe.
Going forward, the Red Cross remains committed to achieving further progress and will continue to provide data to the FDA to make blood donation even more inclusive. We recognize the hurt the previous FDA policy that restricted gay and bisexual men from blood donation 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
Red Cross LGBTQ+ Donor’s page