New changes to the Blood and Platelet Center (BPC)
The UCLA BPC welcomes the new recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allows for a more inclusive blood donation process that assesses all potential donors equally while maintaining a safe blood supply. We believe that the well-being of our blood supply plays a critical role in the well-being of our patients. With these changes we have two goals:
1.) Providing peace of mind for the patients of the UCLA Health Hospitals.
2.) Providing a positive, inclusive and rewarding experience for our donors.
We acknowledge there is more work to be done, but we support the FDA and other professional
organizations, such as the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB), in the progress that has been made. Additional information and resources are available at AABB and FDA.
Individual Donor Assessment
The FDA recently issued new evidence-based guidelines to determine donor blood eligibility that are inclusive and assess every donor regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Our Donor History Questionnaire (DHQ) is gender-neutral, and all donors are asked all of the same questions. The DHQ contains new screening criteria that ask about risks related to travel, medication, high-risk behaviors (defined by the FDA), and sexual activity. The sexual activity questions are based on specific behaviors with new or multiple partners. Sexual orientation is not considered, and each donor is assessed individually.
Most notable changes
- All individuals are asked if they have had new and/or multiple sexual partners in the past three months.
- Individuals who have had new or multiple sexual partners in the last three months and also had anal sex during that period will be required to wait three months from the last anal contact to donate.
- Individuals who have not had anal sex with a new and/or multiple partners and meet all other eligibility criteria will be able to donate.
Asking about anal sex in the context of new or multiple recent partners allows blood donor centers to more precisely and reliably identify individuals with an increased risk of a newly acquired transfusion- transmissible infection. It does not account for an individual’s safe sex practices but is based on an evidenced-based approach to overall risk.
All available evidence confirms that an individual donor assessment approach to screening will continue to ensure the highest safety and quality for the blood supply.
HIV Preventative Medications (PrEP/PEP)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective medication regimen for HIV prevention. In people taking PrEP or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), low levels of HIV can be missed by current blood donor testing methods. The blood community relies on accurate HIV testing as part of its multi-layered approach to safety. More research must be done on how PrEP and PEP affect HIV testing performed on blood donors.
- Currently, the FDA recommends that individuals who take oral PrEP or PEP are deferred from donation for three months from their most recent use.
- For individuals who have received PrEP by injection, FDA recommends deferral from blood donation for two years from their most recent injection.