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More gay and bisexual men can now donate blood to the Red Cross

A person donating blood.
Frank Merino

A person donating blood.

The FDA has expanded its guidelines to be more inclusive to certain members of the LGBTQ community.

Starting Monday, the American Red Cross is accepting blood donations from many members of the LGBTQ community who are now eligible under new guidelines. This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded eligibility recommendations to include more gay and bisexual men.

People who have new or multiple partners, and have had anal sex in the past three months would still have to wait. But, those in a monogamous sexual relationship regardless of their sexual orientation can now donate blood.

“There is no substitute for blood,” said Kody Kinsley, the first openly gay secretary of Health and Human Services for North Carolina. “It's also important because not only does it broaden access for more donors to donate, it actually helps us protect the blood supply even more.”

Kinsley donated blood at an American Red Cross site in Raleigh on Monday. He said he took pride in donating, as a member of the LGBTQ community.

“In the last year, about a quarter of new HIV infections were in heterosexual women,” he said. “Asking information about behaviors is better than just assuming that you've managed the risk by excluding a group of people associated with the disease.”

Last year, Kinsley wrote a letter asking the FDA to change its policy, with the support of 10 other states.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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