Red Cross Implements New Rule Allowing More Gay Men To Donate Blood

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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More gay and bisexual men will be able to donate blood after the Red Cross implemented a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule change that was approved earlier this year, according to Axios.

The FDA announced in May that it would use the same questionnaire to assess all donors regardless of sexual orientation, which asks whether potential donors have had sex with new or multiple partners in the past three months and, if so, if they have had anal sex during that time span. The Red Cross will implement the new rule on Monday, which could increase the number of people eligible to donate, according to Axios. (RELATED: FDA Panel Supports Offering Over The Counter Birth Control)

“Any individual, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who has had new or multiple sexual partners in the last three months, and also had anal sex in that timeframe, will be asked to wait three months to donate blood from last anal sex contact,” the Red Cross’ website reads.

LOUISVILLE, KY – JULY 07: A phlebotomist tends to the arm of a blood donor at the KFC YUM! Center during the Starts, Stripes, and Pints blood drive event on July 7, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

The policy change comes after pressure from LGBTQ activist organizations, according to Axios. LGBTQ activists called the previous policy discriminatory.

The FDA banned gay men from donating blood in the 1980s, and the policy was lifted in 2015, according to the New York Times.  The FDA restricted men who had sex with men in the past year from being able to donate.

“A safe and reliable blood supply for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions is of the utmost importance,” a Red Cross spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “All patients should feel comfortable and trust that the blood they receive is safe. Years of data have demonstrated that this new eligibility screening process still ensures a safe blood supply.”

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