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Vitalant begins new blood donor eligibility guidelines

For the first time in decades, blood donor eligibility is evaluated independent of gender or sexual orientation.

DENVER — More people are being invited to donate blood in Colorado.

Starting Monday, Vitalant began welcoming more blood donors under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated eligibility guidelines.

Vitalant said blood donor eligibility is now evaluated independent of gender or sexual orientation while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.

Under previous FDA guidance, sexually active gay and bisexual men were deferred from giving blood for three months. The updated donor questionnaire now impartially evaluates individual risk of HIV instead of the long-standing blanket guidance.

Vitalant said its donor questionnaire is one part of a multilayered safety approach that also includes infectious disease testing of every donation. 

"Vitalant applauds this modernization of blood donor eligibility criteria. Vitalant served as the lead research organization and coordinator of the ADVANCE Study and participates in the Transfusion Transmissible Infections Monitoring System, both of which the FDA cited in its scientifically backed recommendations," Vitalant said in a press release. "Vitalant will continue to work with industry partners and government agencies to advance evidence-based eligibility policies that allow as many people as possible to give blood while ensuring a safe blood supply for patients."

More Colorado blood donors are needed as Vitalant experiences an ongoing summer blood shortage with fewer donors replenishing what’s available for patients. According to Vitalant, only about 3% of the U.S. population donates, but a patient in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. 

Anyone wishing to make a blood donation can review the eligibility updates and make an appointment at vitalant.org, through the Vitalant app or by phone at 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).


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