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Indiana Blood Center To Accept New FDA Blood Donation Policy

Although individual blood centers are not required to follow the new FDA rule, Indiana Blood Center is supportive of the change.

The Federal Drug Administration announced new guidelines Monday for blood donation deferrals. The FDA has lifted the lifetime ban on men who have had sex with men, and now recommends a 12-month deferral since the last sexual contact with another man.

Andrea Fagan, Director of PR and Marketing for the Indiana Blood Center, explains that the FDA’s decision is merely a guideline for blood donation centers, and is not absolutely required.

“In the case of all deferrals, a blood center has an option to be more strict, but we can’t be less strict,” Fagan says.

She adds that the Indiana Blood Center is absolutely supportive of the new guideline and will implement it as soon as the changes in procedure can be made.

Certain groups, however, believe this change doesn’t go far enough, and that a 12-month deferral for men who have had sexual contact with other men is discriminatory.

“We think that there’s a further step they can take which is moving to an individual risk-based assessment, which would remove discrimination from this deferral process altogether,” says Ryan Yezak, founder of the organization National Gay Blood Drive.

Yezak has been advocating for the removal of the lifetime ban since starting his organization in 2012. He says they will continue their efforts to lobby for further changes to the deferral policy.

“They’ve considered it before, but decided that they didn’t have enough data to move to that,” Yezak says. “So we feel it’s a matter of getting more data, getting the evidence they deem is necessary, and we’re going to push for them to do that.”

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