BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner donated blood for the first time on Tuesday, in celebration of new rules that open blood donation to gay and bisexual men.

DPH Commissioner Robbie Goldstein and former CDC Director Rochelle Walensky donated blood at the Red Cross Donation Center near Boston. This comes after years of advocacy from the pair to change an FDA policy that was enacted during the AIDs crisis.

According to the Associated Pres, the updated guidelines get rid of the requirement that men who have sex with men abstain from sex for three months prior to giving blood. Now, all potential donors, regardless of sexual orientation, sex, or gender, will be screened with a new questionnaire that evaluates their individual risks for HIV based on sexual behavior, recent partners, and other factors. Potential donors who report having anal sex with new partners in the last three months will be barred from giving blood until a later date.

That policy was changed in May, and the American Red Cross officially started implementing it this month. They hope that the new rules can help ease blood shortages.

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