NY blood donation centers implement new federal guidelines
Blood donation centers across the state will begin implementing new federal donation guidelines this week.
The Food and Drug Administration recently created new rules that blood donor eligibility will no longer be based on sexual orientation, but rather on "individual" risk-based questions, aimed at reducing the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV. This change came after years of men, who identify as gay or bi-sexual, being left out or facing a lifetime ban on blood and plasma donation.
"There is a shortage across the country, no matter where you go there's a chronic shortage,” said The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Service Center representative Jeffrey Guard. “And even with the additional population of gay and bi-sexual men who can donate blood, even that small incremental shift can save literally hundreds of lives."
Among the centers implementing the guidelines is the New York Blood Center’s locations in Yonkers, Mount Vernon and Bronxville.
"We all we constantly have a lack of blood for patients that are in need, so I think what we need to do is consistently test anyone,” said Yonkers resident Annette Bakker.
The FDA says its recommendation is blood banks follow the guidelines, but it isn’t required. Additionally, potential blood donors taking HIV medication or prep are still advised not to donate blood.