FDA Lifts Restrictions on Who Can Donate Blood During Coronavirus Outbreak

To deal with potential shortages in blood donors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it was lifting certain restrictions on who is allowed to give blood, as reported by CNN.

Among the groups who were previously prohibited from donating blood are gay men, women who have had sex with gay men, and people who had recently gotten tattoos or piercings. While these groups originally had to wait one year to donate blood, they now have to wait only three months, and must still undergo tests to confirm that they do not have such diseases as HIV.

Dr. Peter Marks, the Director of the Center for Biologics and Evaluation Research at the FDA, said that people who are taking drugs to prevent contracting HIV may also be permitted to give blood, but those decisions are ultimately to be made by individual donation centers.

The changes were made due to an “urgent” shortage of blood donations in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. “We expect that the updated guidance and alternative procedures will help increase the number of donations moving forward,” Dr. Marks said in a statement, “while helping to ensure adequate protections for donor health and maintaining a safe blood supply for patients.”