IDA Changes

LifeServe Blood Center is your non-profit, community-based blood center that has served the needs of local hospitals and patients in our regions for more than 75 years. As one of the 15 largest blood centers in the country, LifeServe is the sole provider of blood and blood products to more than 160 hospitals primarily in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

LifeServe is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for regulatory oversight of the U.S. blood supply. The FDA enforces standards for blood collection and for the manufacturing of blood products.

In 2023, the FDA updated their policy on recommendations for evaluating donor eligibility using individual assessment of health and history to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by blood and blood products. The questions are the same for every donor, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender. The overall assessment is that these changes will make the blood supply safer with risk assessment of all donors’ sexual activity, not just one group.

The specific changes to the Donor History Questionnaire (DHQ) or QuickPass are:

  • In the past three months, have you “had sexual contact with a new partner?”
  • In the past three months, have you “had sexual contact with more than one partner?”
  • “Are you pregnant now?”
  • “Have you ever been pregnant?”

If the donor answers yes to either question regarding sexual contact, they will be asked about the type of sexual contact (anal sex) to determine the risk of newly acquired transfusion-transmitted infection.

IDA Changes FAQ

  • Statistically, anal sex has a significantly higher chance of HIV transmission per sex act than vaginal or oral sex.

    This does not account for individuals’ safe sex practices but is based on an evidence-based approach to overall risk.

  • Data shows that the risk of a new/recent infection of HIV that cannot be detected by current testing methods (particularly “window period” infections) increases with new sexual partners and multiple sexual partners.

    Statistically, anal sex has a significantly higher risk of HIV transmission per sex act compared with vaginal or oral sex. Multiple sexual partners can increase the chance of HIV transmission.

  • If you are having anal sex with one person you’ve been with for at least three months, you will be able to donate as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria. All donors are asked if they’ve had a new partner in the past three months, or multiple partners in the past three months. Donors who have one sexual partner they’ve been with three months or longer won’t be asked about anal sex.

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective medication regimen used for HIV prevention. In people taking PrEP or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), low levels of HIV may be missed by current testing methods. The blood community relies on accurate HIV testing as part of its multilayered approach to safety.

    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. This longer deferral for injectable forms of PrEP is due to the increased duration of effect that this form of the medications has.

  • Donor eligibility criteria for hemoglobin is based on gender.

    Our computer system and apheresis instruments only allow for entry of male or female. Until that is changed, for donors who identify as non-binary (neither male nor female), the donor's gender will be entered so that our system enforces the most conservative acceptability criteria.

  • The new questionnaire is gender-neutral and will pose all questions to all donors regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Transgender individuals are welcome to donate blood.

Human blood cannot be manufactured which means we need more than 100,000 community members to donate each year to ensure local hospital patients have the blood products they need, when they need them. Fewer than three percent of eligible donors donate on a regular basis. With the FDA’s guidance, there is potential for the quantity of eligible donors to increase through the reduction of unnecessary deferrals.