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FDA Changes FAQs

FDA Changes FAQs

The Food and Drug Administration’s changes to blood donation guidelines were the result of recent studies and data showing the criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply. The changes will increase the number of people able to give blood.

The FDA is continuing to evaluate eligibility guidelines and you can learn more about the changes on the FDA website.

Until these changes, if you were stationed for more than six months in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands from 1980-90, or Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal or Italy from 1980-96, you could not donate blood. You now are eligible to give.

Anyone who spent five years or more in France or Ireland from 1980-2001 will not be able to give. If you received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom, Ireland or France since 1980, or lived in the United Kingdom for more than three months from 1980-96, you still will not be able to donate.

The guidance affecting military personnel was the result of the outbreak in Europe of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease(vCJD), commonly referred to as “mad cow disease.”

You now will be able to donate three months after the following (the deferral period previously had been 12 months):

  • Travel to areas with a risk of malaria in the last three years
  • A man who had sex with another man
  • A blood transfusion
  • Organ, Tissue or bone marrow transplant
  • Bone or skin graft
  • Contact with someone else’s blood
  • An accidental needles stick
  • Sexual contact with anyone who has HIV/AIDS or has a had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus
  • Sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money or drugs for sex
  • Sexual contact with anyone who has ever used needles to take drugs or steroids, or anything not prescribed by their doctor
  • Female donors who have had sexual contact with a male who had sexual contact with another male
  • A tattoo from a non-licensed facility (there is no waiting period if tattoos were done in a state regulated establishment and have fully healed)
  • An ear or body piercing without single-use equipment (there is no waiting period if piercings were done with a single-use device, as long as they have healed)
  • Treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea

You now will be able to donate three months after the following (the deferral previously had been indefinite):

  • Use of needles to take drugs, steroid or anything else not prescribed by your doctor
  • Accepting money, drugs or other payment for sex

About Us

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For more than 45 years, the nonprofit South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has focused on a critical purpose: to save and improve lives.

Inspired by a group of physicians, our organization was formed to provide blood to the South Texas region – ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply through proper testing, storage and distribution to hospitals. This essential service allows front-line workers to focus on the direct care of patients, with confidence that this lifesaving resource will be there when it’s needed most.

But we didn’t stop there. Over the years, we’ve evolved as the needs of our patients and hospitals have changed, driven to save lives in as many ways as possible.

We couldn’t do this without donors like you. We understand that the gift of donation is a personal, powerful choice that has the potential to touch a life. Today, we offer many ways to make a difference that include:

Our team has also expanded its programs, partnering with leaders within the healthcare industry to develop a wide range of therapies. We’ve recently developed programs to collect and distribute COVID-19 convalescent plasma, as well as improve trauma care.