More participants needed in Orlando study on LGBTQ+ blood donation

ADVANCE study launched in 2020

Nearly five years after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, three of the largest blood centers in the country have launched a study to potentially allow gay and bisexual men to become donors more easily.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The LGBTQ+ Center Orlando is seeking participants for a study to potentially allow gay and bisexual men become blood donors more easily.

The ADVANCE study, which stands for Assessing Donor Variability and New Concepts in Eligibility, was launched by OneBlood, the American Red Cross and Vitalant in 2020.

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The center joined the study in May 2021. According to a tweet from Rep. Carlos G. Smith, the LGBTQ+ Center Orlando is seeking another 200 participants to take part in the study.

To sign up as a participant, click here.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration recommendations did not allow any man who had sex with another man in the last 12 months to donate blood. In April 2020, the deferral changed to three months and still reads: “Defer for 3 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 3 months.”

“It took a global pandemic to change the regulations but there weren’t any changes almost 5 years ago, and it’s like well my bloods just as red as yours, why don’t you want it?” Danny Garcia, vice president of the board at the LGBT+ Center Orlando, said.

Garcia encouraged participants 18 to 39 years old to get involved

The study is aiming to change the donor history questionnaire and if the individual questionnaire “based on individual risk would be as effective as time-based deferral, in reducing the risk of HIV in the blood supply,” according to the website.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.