The American Red Cross said it would welcome new federal guidelines that would allow more gay men to be able to donate blood.
“The American Red Cross seeks to build an inclusive environment that embraces diversity for all those who engage with our lifesaving mission,” said the American Red Cross. “As such, the Red Cross believes blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation and is committed to working with partners toward achieving this goal.”
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal was the first to report that the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to change its guidance on when gay men can donate blood. In 2020, the FDA said a man who had not had sex with another man in the prior three months would be eligible for blood donation. Previously, the amount of time was one year.
Many in the LGBTQ+ community have claimed the FDA’s policies are discriminatory and not based on science.
The FDA said that its policies are in place to reduce the spread of HIV. Nearly 60% of HIV infections are made through male-on-male sexual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a statement released early Thursday, the American Red Cross said it participated with other blood donation centers and LGBTQ+ organizations to study safely expanding the pool of blood donors. A study funded by the Food and Drug Administration concluded enrollment in September.
“Researchers from the participating blood centers have completed their work, including completing follow-up visits with participants with information to be submitted to the FDA to determine the next steps,” the American Red Cross said. “We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the LGBTQ+ community partners, study participants, and all those who supported the groundbreaking ADVANCE Study as we all seek to make blood donation a more inclusive process while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.”