Area LGBTQ+ Organizations to Host Blood Drive After FDA Changes

Jan 18, 2024 at 07:43 am by WGNS News

Blood Assurance is expecting to welcome many first-time blood donors next week at a blood drive hosted by several Nashville area LGBTQ+ organizations.

On Friday, January 19, the community blood center is joining forces with Nashville Launch Pad, Inclusion Tennessee, and Vanderbilt Health’s Program for LGBTQ Health, to host the blood donation celebration at its donation center at 2817 West End Ave. Suite 200. The blood drive will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.


One of the organizers told WGNS News, “I think it’s important to underscore that the education around changing guidelines is absolutely relevant to many members of the listening area.” They went on to highlight, “Because of the historic 40-year ban, many people will not be aware of the changes.”

The event is the result of recent FDA changes to the blood donor screening criteria that now permits more gay and bisexual individuals the opportunity to donate blood. The criteria is now based on individual risk behaviors, and not sexual or gender identity. The reform came after a years-long effort by blood centers and key stakeholders in the LGBTQ+ community, and the FDA. Blood Assurance implemented the changes last month.

“As Middle Tennessee, and the nation deal with a significant blood shortage, there is a lot of optimism that blood centers like Blood Assurance will see an uptick in donors because of these changes,” according to Dr. Liz Culler, chief medical officer for Blood Assurance. “It is our hope that by holding an event like this, many first-time donors will become long-time donors.”

Donors can schedule their appointment, and learn more about the event and FDA changes by visiting

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. Donors should also note that those who take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), regardless of gender or sexual orientation, will still be deferred due to the medication’s interference with routine donation tests that ensure the safety of the blood supply.

Sections: News