Bloodworks Northwest, the primary blood supplier to hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, announced this week that it has eased restrictions on donations by gay and bisexual men, bringing it in line with new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance.
The new FDA guidance was issued in May, replacing outdated blood donor restrictions based on gender and sexual orientation with individual, risk-based criteria, a Bloodworks news release says.
Bloodworks Northwest is now asking all potential donors to answer the same set of health history questions assessing their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Previously targeted questions about sexual history will now apply to all donors, the news release says.
Based on current guidance from the FDA, those taking preventative HIV medications (such as PrEP or PEP) are still deferred from donating for three months from their most recent oral use. Available data suggests that the use of PrEP or PEP may delay the detection of low levels of HIV in screening tests for blood donations, potentially resulting in false negative results in infected individuals, the Bloodworks news release says.
"Bloodworks Northwest's mission supports every eligible person in the community saving lives every day, and we have enthusiastically advocated for equality and inclusivity in the donation process while maintaining blood safety based on science," Bloodworks Northwest's Co-Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kirsten Watson Alcorn said in a statement.
"Today we celebrate and welcome those who have previously been deferred."
For the most up-to-date information on medication deferrals and other eligibility requirements, visit www.bloodworksnw.org/eligibility. For more specific information on the new guidelines, visit the FDA's website.
To book an appointment or gather more information, please visit BloodworksNW.org or call 800-398-7888.