AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Wednesday, We Are Blood (WRB) will implement the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated guidance removing eligibility criteria based on the gender of donors and their sexual partners, according to a news release from WRB. This move will safely allow additional members of the community to donate blood.
The new FDA guidance revises blood donor eligibility questionnaires for blood centers across the country, according to WRB. The new guidance removes time-based deferrals and eligibility questions specific to “males who have sex with males and females who have sex with males who have sex with males,” the release said.
This updated guidance was issued by the FDA following a years-long study with community blood centers across the U.S. to evaluate safe alternatives to prior guidance, the release said. The new guidance is similar to those already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada, according to WRB.
New questions will be the same for every donor, regardless of gender or the gender of sexual partners, according to WRB.
Anyone who has attempted to donate at WRB under prior guidance is now eligible and is invited to complete a reentry form, which can be found on the WRB website, the release said.
For anyone taking prescribed PreP/PEP medications will be deferred for three months from their last dose taken orally or two years if injected, the release said. These are medications that, while they can be highly effective for minimizing the risk of HIV transmission during sexual activity, the risk of transmission does remain during a blood transfusion due to the volume of blood, according to WRB.
“We Are Blood is eager and excited to implement these important changes to blood donor eligibility,” said Nick Canedo, WRB’s vice president of community engagement. “We look forward to welcoming and fostering a blood donor community which reflects the diverse friends, family, and neighbors we serve.”
Appointments can be scheduled online at any of the four donor centers on North Lamar, Round Rock, Cedar Park and South Austin or at mobile drives, the release said.