SAN BERNARDINO —Effective July 20, prospective LifeStream Blood Bank donors who have been unable to give in the past, including gay men, may now be eligible to do so under new FDA guidance.

“This is exciting news for LifeStream and patients in need,” Dr. Rick Axelrod, LifeStream’s president, CEO and medical director, said in a statement “On behalf of patients and their loved ones, we invite those who feel they may have been excluded from the process, but now may be eligible,.”

To make an appointment, visit a LifeStream donor center or mobile drive,

“You can help surgical and cancer patients; accident, burn or trauma victims; even newborn babies,” Axelrod said.

The new FDA guidance reduces the deferral period from 12 months to 3 months for:

  • Males who have had sex with males
  • Individuals who have used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by their doctor
  • Individuals who had an accidental needle stick
  • Individuals who received a blood transfusion
  • Individuals who underwent a transplant or graft procedure
  • Individuals who had a tattoo, ear or body piercing at a facility that is not state licensed
  • Individuals who have had sex with a person impacted by the above deferrals.

Some former deferral periods regarding travel also have been adjusted.

  • The deferral period for those who traveled to malaria-endemic areas has been reduced from 12 months to 3 months
  • There is no deferral period for those who served at U.S. military bases in Europe
  • Also, bovine insulin has been removed from the medication deferral list.

Appointments to donate blood at any LifeStream donor center or mobile drive are strongly recommended and may be made by calling 800-879-4484 or visiting Walk-ins are welcome but may be subject to a lengthy wait.

All successful blood donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

LifeStream requires all staff and donors wear face coverings (please note that masks/face coverings with one-way valves to filter outside air are not sufficient) and submit to temperature checks and COVID-19 symptoms check before accessing donor waiting areas. LifeStream also adheres to social distancing guidelines and has enhanced already strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

LifeStream is a local, nonprofit, comprehensive blood bank that supplies blood products and services to more than 80 Southern California hospitals. For more information call 800-879-4484 or click here.


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