Blood Donor Eligibility
All blood donors are required to meet FDA eligibility criteria to donate blood, every time. These eligibility criteria apply to all U.S. blood collection organizations. The FDA requires all potential blood donors to answer questions related to their health history before each donation. The donation criteria and questions on the health history questionnaire are designed to ensure that the blood collection process is as safe as possible for the donors as well as for the recipients of blood. Learn more about blood donation eligibility.
Health History Screening
During the pre-donation health history screening, the Red Cross uses a questionnaire that is developed by the blood industry’s professional organization, AABB, and approved by the FDA to assess an individual’s health history. Health history questions are based on past and current behavior risks (for example: travel, medication, sexual activity, etc.) Sexual activity questions are based on specific behaviors, not on sexual orientation. The words “have sexual contact with” and “sex” are used in some of the questions, and apply to any sexual activities (vaginal, oral, or anal), regardless of whether a condom was used during the activity.
Individual Donor Assessment
Under the FDA’s individual donor assessment eligibility criteria, the donor history questionnaire is gender-neutral and all donors will answer the same questions regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This includes sexual behavior questions to assess individual risk factors. Any individual, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who has had new or multiple sexual partners in the last three months, and also had anal sex in that timeframe, will be asked to wait three months to donate blood from last anal sex contact.
HIV Preventative Medications (PrEP/PEP)
If you have taken a drug to prevent an HIV infection, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP or PEP), you are asked to wait three months from last oral dose and two years from last injection to donate blood. The waiting period is required due to these drugs interfering with viral replication and thus possibly altering the detectability of diagnostic and screening tests for HIV, including extending the window period prior to detectable infection or a delay in producing antibodies.