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FDA Releases Revised Donor Guidelines

Updated Donor Eligibility Criteria Based on FDA Recommendations Coming Soon!  

On April 2, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets regulations for blood donor eligibility in the United States, announced new eligibility guidelines. We are pleased to share that the new guidelines will enable more people to become blood donors. San Diego Blood Bank is in the process of implementing these changes, which include writing new procedures, updating the donor questionnaire in accordance with our accrediting agency, modifying computer systems, and training staff. 

We anticipate having changes implemented toward the end of July. Thank you for your patience! 

Examples of the changes include: 

  • Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD or Mad Cow) related deferrals:
    • People who lived in Europe for 5 years or more from 1980 to the present will no longer be deferred (deferral for England, Ireland and France will remain).
    • People who were stationed on a military base in Europe from 1980 to 1996 will no longer be deferred.
    • People with a history of bovine-derived insulin use will no longer be deferred  
  • Tattoo or piercing in an unlicensed facility, needlestick exposure, transfusion: a reduction from a one-year deferral to three months.
  • Men who have had sex with men (MSM): a reduction from a one-year deferral to three months.
  • Non-prescription injection drug: a reduction from a permanent deferral to three months.
  • Contact with a prostitute: a reduction from a one-year deferral to three months.
  • Exchanging sex for money or drugs: a reduction from a permanent deferral to three months.
  • Travel to a malarial endemic area (as long as you were not a resident of a malarial endemic country): a reduction from a one-year deferral to three months.

Additional changes were made that will impact a small number of people. We will be announcing implementation of all changes very soon.  

Note: Changes were made after review of scientific and epidemiologic data including the experiences of other countries, and the FDA has concluded that current policies regarding the above donor eligibility criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply.  

For more information please check out the links below:

Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products 
Recommendations to Reduce the Possible Risk of Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease by Blood and Blood Components 
Revised Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria