Aug. 7, 2023, celebrated a landmark change for the American Red Cross and blood donors. Due to updated FDA blood donation eligibility guidelines no longer based on sexual orientation, the Red Cross is now able to welcome more donors to its lifesaving mission.
This change means many healthy individuals who previously could not give are now able to support their community through the gift of blood donation. All potential donors will see the same questions related to eligibility through a new history questionnaire adopted by all blood collection organizations in the U.S. The new, standardized guidelines will assess donors based on their own personal risk factors, not on sexual orientation.
For Reverend Rick Hoyt-McDaniels, this change is a celebrated return to a time when he was a routine donor. In the early 1980s, his college had regular blood drives and he donated every time they were on campus. When the FDA changed its policy during the early days of the HIV epidemic, Hoyt-McDaniels was no longer able to donate, a paradigm shift he recalls as hurtful.