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More people can give blood and save lives with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center after the U.S. FDA changed its eligibility requirements as donations decreased in response to the pandemic.  

The changes primarily affect those at risk for transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (linked to mad cow disease) after living in or spending a significant amount of time in Europe and those at risk of contracting HIV. 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials announced the changes in April. They stated the decision was based on completed studies and epidemiologic data that concluded the updates would not compromise the blood supply. They will remain in place after the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Additionally, the FDA has issued guidance to allow for donor requalification for donors who have previously tested positive for and were deferred for human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) and type II (HTLV-II), collectively referred to as HTLV-I/II. 

Other changes include: 

  • The Blood Center has eliminated deferrals for people who may have been exposed to Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease while in certain European countries or on military bases. 
  • The deferral period for men who have had sex with another man has been shortened from a year to three months. 
  • The deferral period for people who have traveled to malaria-endemic areas has been shortened from a year to three months. 

Blood donations are needed consistently throughout the year to serve patients in area hospitals. Visit for more information or contact our Donor Advocates at or (713)791-6608.

The Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information or to help save lives, visit


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