Maintaining a safe and available blood supply is one of the highest priorities for America’s Blood Centers and its member centers, including Carter BloodCare. We strongly support the use of rational, science-based deferral periods that are applied consistently among blood donors, and that treat all potential donors with fairness, equality and respect.
America’s Blood Centers’ members are working with the blood community, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (which regulates all U.S. blood centers), and LGBTQ+ community centers and organizations on studies that could lead to a significant change in donor eligibility. The “Assessing Donor Variability And New Concepts in Eligibility” (ADVANCE) Study is an important step toward updating the eligibility criteria for blood donation.
Details about the study are available at ADVANCEstudy.org.
Can gay or bisexual men donate blood?
Yes, however, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, a man who had sex with another man (MSM) is not eligible to donate blood for three months from the last MSM encounter. Furthermore, a woman who has had sex with a man who has had sex with a man is not eligible to donate blood for three months since the last sexual encounter.
Can lesbians or bisexual women who have sex with women donate blood?
Yes, per FDA guidelines there is no deferral for women who have had sex with other women.
Can transgender or intersex individuals donate blood?
Yes, per FDA guidelines there is no deferral for transgender or intersex individuals. Donors can self-identify their gender selection. The deferral for men who have had sex with men still applies to trans men.
I tried to donate blood and was not eligible because of a recent MSM encounter; when will I be able to donate blood?
Gay and bisexual men are eligible to donate three months after their last sexual encounter with another man.
I’m a man in a same-sex marriage for over ten years; can I donate blood?
Unfortunately, the three month deferral still applies regardless of relationship status. You must wait three months from your last sexual encounter with another man before donating.
I’m a man who practices safe sex with other men; can I donate blood?
Unfortunately, the three month deferral still applies. You must wait three months from your last sexual encounter with another man before donating.
I’m a gay or bisexual man who hasn’t had sex with another man in more than three months. Can I donate blood?
If it has been more than three months since your last sexual encounter with a man, you are eligible to donate blood.
I am currently taking medications to prevent HIV infection (PrEP or PEP) such as Truvada, Descovy, Tivicay, Apretude or Isentress. Can I donate blood?
No. The AABB, which accredits our blood center, requires us to defer individuals who are taking these meds for three months for oral medication and two years for medicine given by injection.
I have heard that some other countries allow gay or bisexual men to donate blood based on different criteria than in the United States. Is this true?
Yes, some countries ask questions at the time of donation to determine risk of specific sexual behaviors that the donor has engaged in. However at this time all United States blood centers must follow the FDA requirements to defer for three months after MSM contact.
I feel this policy is discriminatory against the LGBTQ+ community. How can this be changed?
The FDA must weigh blood donor inclusivity versus the safety of the blood supply. We encourage you to reach out to your local and state elected representatives to help support changing these laws.