TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Community Blood Center (CBC) says it will be changing its screening process for new donors amid a national blood shortage.

Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the CBC will no longer screen donors based on their sex or gender identity, according to a press release. This follows a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation earlier this year to switch to using individual risk assessment (IDA) to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV.

The Red Cross said it would end blood donor restrictions against gay and bisexual men in August. In September, the Red Cross said the national blood supply has reached critically low levels.

“For decades, we have strongly advocated for scientifically-based changes to the FDA policies regarding gay and bisexual men and this recent decision by the FDA is a huge step toward making blood donation more inclusive,” said Patsy Shipley, Vice President at the CBC. “We look forward to welcoming these new donors to our centers and blood drives, especially following a tough summer with low donor turnout.” 

The CBC has adopted a donor history questionnaire and updated its operating procedures in preparation of the change on Oct. 4, according to the press release. It is the hope of the CBC that these changes will help combat the region’s low blood supply of types O+, O-, B- and platelets.

The CBC serves people in Kansas and Missouri through its locations in Kansas City, Saint Joseph and Topeka. Learn more about IDA practices by clicking here.

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