CityBeat: Cincinnati's Hoxworth Blood Center will begin accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men by end of year
Expanded FDA regulations have opened new doors for blood banks and the LGBTQ+ community, but there's still some stipulations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the removal of restrictions that prevented gay and bisexual men from donating blood. This move marks a significant change in policies that have been criticized for stigmatizing the LGBTQIA+ community.
The previous regulations were initially implemented in 1983 to prevent HIV transmission and had gradually eased by 2020, allowing a three-month deferral after a sexual encounter with another man.
The announcement has been met with enthusiasm from medical professionals and the blood industry. David Oh, MD, chief medical officer at Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati, which services more than 30 area hospitals and medical centers in the greater Cincinnati area, said he was at a medical conference when the news dropped.
“The room was full of blood professionals who gave a standing ovation to the FDA,” Oh told CityBeat. “The entire blood industry is very excited for these changes. We all feel like it’s an advancement for the field.”
While the blood donation process won't change drastically due to rigorous HIV testing, the questionnaire for potential donors will be adjusted to reflect the new guidelines. Oh says that the new questioniare is expected to be implemented at Hoxworth by the end of the year.
“We have to create algorithms for what the answers are, flow charts,” Oh said. “Part of that complexity comes because blood is essentially considered to be a drug by the FDA. So all the things that pharmaceutical companies have to do for their manufacture of prescription medications, we do and are held responsible for through the production of blood.”
Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati, was founded in 1938, and serves more than 30 hospitals in 18 counties in Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana. Annually, Hoxworth collects more than 100,000 units of blood from local donors to help save the lives of patients in area hospitals. Hoxworth Blood Center: Saving Lives Close to Home.