SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The American Red Cross‘s revised blood donor process began today, Aug. 7, allowing all donors — regardless of sexual orientation, sex, or gender — opportunities to donate blood.

The revised process included an introduction of the Individual Donor Assessment screening, which the Red Cross said is a step toward safer and more inclusive blood supply. This process is a significant milestone in the Red Cross’s commitment to equality, inclusivity, and security of the nation’s blood supply, according to the Red Cross.

All potential donors will be screened with a revised questionnaire that evaluates individual risk for HIV based on sexual behavior, recent partners, and other factors, according to the Red Cross. The IDA reportedly marks the end of a decades-old policy that required gay men to abstain from sex for three months prior to donating, and instead focuses on risk factors.

Heidi Ruster, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada region, said the IDA approach marks a pivotal shift toward inclusivity and equitable blood donation policy.

“This is a positive step toward meeting the critical need for a secure, diverse blood supply, while emphasizing safety and inclusion for all,” she said.

Salt Lake resident Chris Van Bibber was among the first of gay men to donate blood under this new policy this morning.

He said this cause is close to his heart, as his mother received a blood transfusion during childbirth.

“I’m proud to honor her by giving back to the community. Being able to contribute after all these years is not just a personal achievement, but a collective step forward for inclusivity and equality,” he said.

The American Red Cross has reportedly supported changing the deferral policy concerning sexually active gay men, supported by decades of data collection and assessments to improve transfusion safety, according to the Red Cross. Additionally, the Red Cross said they have been an ongoing advocate for eliminating donor questions based on sexual orientation and was a leading contributor to the FDA-funded study that led to changes in donor eligibility.

The Red Cross uses many layers of safety to help protect the blood supply and health of donors, including eligibility screening and rigorous testing performed on each donation, according to the Red Cross. To ensure each unit is safe for transfusion, the Red Cross said they test each donation for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other transfusion-transmitted agents.

Ruster said the Red Cross needs individuals like Van Bibber who feel strongly about donating blood, saying new donors can help with the current donation slump.

To make an appointment, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.