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NCDHHS issues statement as FDA finalizes recommendation to expand eligibility for blood donation

blood donation
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RALEIGH — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized its recommendations to expand eligibility for blood donation to include gender-inclusive, individual risk-based questions to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV.

With the national blood shortage, it is urgent that blood donation establishments begin updating their procedures immediately. Organizations can now begin implementing these new recommendations by revising their donor history forms and policies.

In response, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley and State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson released this statement:

“We applaud the life-saving decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change its outdated rules for blood donation, joining countries around the world in proposing a set of rules that defers donors for risky behaviors, not for who they are. This decision ends a discriminatory practice against gay men and now allows them to participate in one of the most selfless acts that individuals perform, coming together to save lives.


Adopting these new recommendations is the best way to ensure we have a safe and robust supply of blood. Blood must be donated from another person and cannot be manufactured. Donations help accident victims, people with blood disorders and cancer patients. Each donation can contribute to saving up to three lives.

This decision is especially welcome as blood donations continue to be low in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is a major step forward for ending stigmatization of gay and bisexual men. We look forward to saving lives together.”

Secretary Kinsley, Dr. Tilson and health officials from nine other states and the District of Columbia penned a letter to the FDA in March 2022 requesting this policy be lifted. The group pointed out that the specificity of HIV testing now available nearly eliminates risk of the virus in the blood supply. Deferrals from blood donation should be based on risky behavior, not a person’s sexuality, they stated.

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